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Archive for June, 2017

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Have you heard about “life hacks”? These shortcuts or tips can help make life easier.  I started thinking about “health hacks” – things we could do to improve our health.  Many of these suggestions may be routine for you but look through them and see if you can find a new “health hack” to try.

  • Drink Water instead of a Beverage with Calories. Are you interested in seeing the savings in calories? Visit this CDC site for calorie comparisons. Water is refreshing and calorie free. If you want to jazz it up, add lemon, lime, strawberries, peaches or mint. For tasty combos, check out this blog featuring infused waters. Start slow and substitute water for a soda (diet or regular).
  • Get your Blood Pressure Checked. Uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. You may have high blood pressure and not have any symptoms – so check it to see. Many pharmacies and stores have blood pressure monitors available. Get yours checked and talk to your health professional if you have any concerns about your blood pressure.
  • Find a Healthy Weight. Do you know the weight that is right for you? Click on this link to find out. Most of us know when we are a little over our best weight. Are your clothes tight or too loose? Do you want a free tool that will help you manage your weight? Check out SuperTracker – it can help you plan, analyze and track your nutrition and physical activity. You can join a challenge; receive virtual coaching, and motivation. SuperTracker is part of MyPlate which contains many resources
  • Farmers Market. Visit your local market and pick up vegetables or fruits. Not sure how to find a market near you? Visit this USDA website to find one near you. Eating locally grown food is a great way to get in vegetables and fruits. This past week I purchased two kinds of berries, summer squash, zucchini and beets. Try something new and support a farmer from your area.
  • Move More. If your health care provider could tell you one “health hack” to do, I bet it would be to increase your physical activity. Think about these benefits: weight management, blood pressure management, and blood sugar control. Need more motivation to move?
  • Let’s add these benefits of Physical Activity:
    • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
    • Reduce your risk of Cardiovascular Disease
    • Reduce your risk of some Cancers
    • Strengthen your Bones and Muscles
    • Improve your Mental Health and Mood
    • Improve your ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls

Do you have a favorite “Health Hack”? Share it with me through the comment section.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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Staying hydrated is important to us all, but even more so as we age. As we get older, body water content decreases which can lead to increased risk of dehydration and serious consequences. In fact, dehydration in older adults is one of the ten most common causes of hospitalization in the United States. Dehydration in older adults can lead to such issues as impaired cognition, confusion, falling and constipation.

Why are older adults more susceptible to dehydration?

The amount of water in the body decreases as we age. Because of this, the body becomes more susceptible to dehydration from the loss of only a small amount of water. Additionally, our sense of thirst tends to decline as we age which can lead to decreased fluid intake.  The National Institute on Aging shares other factors that can contribute to decreased fluid intake in older adults. These can include

  • The loss of sense of thirstbottled water
  • Medication side effects
  • Difficulty in getting to or in using the toilet
  • Fear of being unable to control one’s bladder

What are some of the signs that you aren’t drinking enough water?

  • The first sign of dehydration is thirst, which occurs after your body has lost 1% to 2% of body water. This is alarming for older adults due to the diminished sense of thirst. Often when they feel thirsty, they are already well on their way to dehydration.
  • Another indicator of inadequate hydration is the color of a person’s urine. It should be clear or pale yellow. Darker urine may indicate the need for more fluids.
  • Dry mouth, flushed skin, headache and fatigue, dizziness, poor blood circulation, muscle spasms, increased body temperature and rapid breathing are also signs of dehydration.

What can you do to stay hydrated?

A minimum of six 8-ounce glasses of water per day is the recommendation for adults.  There are a few tips to help you meet this goal.

  • Get in the habit of drinking water. You should drink water first thing in the morning, at every meal and between meals. If you use a cell phone, there are free apps that remind you to drink your water.
  • Carry a water bottle with you when you are on the go. That way there is no excuse to not drink.
  • Choose hydrating snacks such as watermelon, cucumbers, citrus fruits, applesauce or yogurt.

Water is a key nutrient and serves many essential functions. It serves to help the body function, playing a role in such things as joint lubrication, temperature regulation, digestion and elimination of waste. Watching out for older family members and friends is essential especially during warm weather.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

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It can be stressful for a parent to get a tearful phone call from a child at camp. For children who are away from home, it is very common for them to experience homesickness. Ninety percent of all children report experiencing feelings of sadness when separated from their home environment. Most children are able to function at camp and learn to work through homesickness. And it’s worth the struggle when kids return stronger and more independent. Some preparation ahead of time may help lessen homesickness at camp.

camp

Have your child help pack. If your child is picking out his clothes and making sure they he has all that he needs, this will help him start to think about time at camp and taking care of himself.

Be positive when you talk with your child about camp. Remind him how much fun he will have with new activities and making new friends.

Address any concerns your child may have about being away from home. You can create some coping strategies together, or better yet, have him come up with suggestions of what he might do in certain situations. For example, when he feels homesick, or lonely he could write a letter home, find a friend, talk with camp staff, or get busy with an activity.

Back up Plans. Do NOT make a back up plan with your child in case he wants to come home. If a child and a parent have an easy ‘out’ it will likely be taken. Camp staff are usually prepared to help a homesick child. You might, however, talk with camp staff to make sure your child is working through it and still having a positive camp experience. You can encourage your child to stick it out. If the homesickness is severe and your child is not functioning well, decide ahead of time what you will do.

Pack notes in your child’s bag with encouraging words, affirmations, and even some funny jokes or camp mad libs for him to complete.  If you mail letters to camp, be positive and encourage your child that he can do it! Telling your child how much you miss him may not be helpful. Consider sending stamped envelopes and paper so your child can write you back. It will help him feel connected with you, and it’s neat to read the notes even after camp.

Prepare yourself to be apart from your child for the week. Have a friend you can talk with and that can give you positive and encouraging reminders. Click here for more tips for parents to manage their own worries about summer camp.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

American Psychological Association. “Summer camp blues: Planning ahead to lessen homesickness at camp.” 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp.aspx

American Psychological Association. “Sending your child to camp: Manage your own worries.” 2017. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp-worry.aspx

 

 

 

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tired-hikers-249683_1280During the summer months, it can be difficult to stay calm, cool, and collected as the temperature and humidity rise. It is important to be aware of the ways to keep ourselves safe in the heat. By following safety tips and being proactive, we can avoid serious illness such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hyperthermia.

  • Plan ahead. Whether you are swimming, having a cook-out, going the zoo or amusement park, canoeing, hiking, camping, going to the beach, or simply lying in a hammock in your backyard, it is important to be prepared as you are planning for the sun-filled days of summer.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Not a water fan?  Add some fruit (fresh or frozen) to your bottle and enjoy the refreshing taste.  Did you know that at most public places (including restaurants, zoos, and theme parks) where fountain beverages are sold, you can usually get a free cup of water?
  • Avoid alcoholic and carbonated beveragesAlcoholic and carbonated beverages will actually dehydrate you, rather than hydrate you.
  • Pack a cooler.  By bringing healthier foods with you and taking time to sit and eat or snack, you are more likely to stop, rest, and refuel your body. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in water content and will help you stay hydrated. A bonus is that you will help stay within your budget by not purchasing higher priced foods and beverages.
  • Choose your clothing wisely. Loose fitting clothes that are lighter in color will help to keep you cool.
  • Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid strenuous activities during the midday hours (10 a.m.- 4 p.m.) when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Stay Sun Safe.  Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sun screen that is at least SPF 15.  Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Seek shade.  Taking time to find the shady spot or by sitting under a sport or pop-up tent can help to lower your body temperature.

Move to a cool location, sit or lie down, apply cold wet cloths to your body, and sip water if you notice any of the following signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness,
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Changes in pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting (please contact a health professional if vomiting does not stop)
  • Fainting

Enjoy your summer.  Stay cool and safe!

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ross County.

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

Summer Stress, Safe Tactics for Ag Today, July 2015 Andy Bauer, Ohio AgrAbility Educational Program Coordinator, https://agsafety.osu.edu/newsletter/ag-safety-stat/july-2015/injury-prevention/summer-stress

Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services https://www.cdc.gov/media/subtopic/matte/pdf/CDCSummerSafety.pdf

National Institutes of Health, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hyperthermia.

Healthy Beverage Guidelines, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks-full-story/

Photo Credits: https://pixabay.com/en/tired-hikers-resting-place-rest-249683/

 

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June is moving right along which means the summer growing season is upon us. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  It is a great time to focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. June is a good time to remind ourselves to make half of our plate fruits and vegetaveggiebles since most Americans don’t eat enough of either.

Locate a farmer’s market in your area and make it a point to visit to see what locally grown produce vendors have to offer.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients our bodies need for healthy growth and development. They provide many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Since most fruits and veggies have a high water content, they help keep us hydrated. Snack on some watermelon on a hot day to help cool you off and to hydrate you!

By eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke and protect against certain types of cancers.

Vegetables are divided into subgroups based on the different combinations of nutrients they provide. It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and to eat from all of the subgroups throughout the week.  The table below breaks vegetables into subgroups to assist you with choosing a variety to eat.

veggie subgroup chart

 

As I mentioned earlier, very few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Below are some suggestions to help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Serve salads or a vegetable as a side dish at dinner.
  • Choose a fruit instead of dessert.
  • Create or order mixed dishes like casseroles or stir-fry.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables, like grapes, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers.
  • East a piece of fruit with breakfast every day.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables when meal planning.
  • Cool off this summer with a fruity homemade smoothie or popsicle. You can even get adventurous and add some veggies to your recipes.

fruits

 

Did you know……fruits and vegetables consumed in almost all forms count towards your daily total?  These can be canned, dried, frozen, or fresh.  Canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of being harvested so their nutritional value and flavor are preserved.

 

Author:  Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pike County

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Sources:

Brooks, A. (2014).  All About Smoothies.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.  http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2014/04/03/all-about-smoothies/

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-frozen-canned-dried-and-100-juice

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#table-2-1

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/june/national-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month

 

 

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OSU Extension 4H clubs Highland Youth Garden Groveport ButtoneersDo you enjoy gardening? Growing your own healthy fruits and vegetables?  Looking at the beautiful flowers that you have grown? I’m sure many answered yes to these questions, but if I ask, “Do you enjoy weeding your garden?” I would probably receive a different answer!

June 13th is actually National Weed Your Garden Day!  Who would have imagined that there is a day dedicated to such an unpopular pastime!  However, the background for this day provides several good reasons that we should devote a day (or more!) to weeding our gardens.

First, weeding can lead to healthier crops.  The weeds compete with your desirable plants for water, sunlight and nutrients. This is especially important when the plants are young. If you can have your soil weed free before planting you are off to a good start.

One of the best tips for having a weed free garden is to stay in control.  Weeding for 5 – 10 minutes each day can help you keep ahead of the fast growing weeds. Be careful not to let any weeds produce seed. You can mulch between the plants to help prevent weeds from sprouting.

Weeding can also help lead to a healthier you.  Did you know that you can burn calories and work some of your muscles simply by weeding your garden? If you’d like to improve your shoulders, arms, thighs, and butt muscles, gardening could be for you!

Here is a simple calculator to help you determine how many calories you can burn while weeding. As an example, an average slice of cheese pizza contains 272 calories.  If you weigh about 150 lbs. and weed in the garden for about 45 minutes, you could balance out that slice of pizza!  You can also increase the intensity of your weeding session to have a cardiovascular workout.

So if you want healthier fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden and the bonus of a more fit body, take the time to regularly weed your garden.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Candace J. Heer, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-weed-your-garden-day-june-13/

https://www.fitwatch.com/caloriesburned/calculate?descr=weeding%252520garden&mets=4.5

https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1993/11-10-1993/exer.html

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If there was a support group for tuna addicts, I would be sitting in the front row. I have been a tuna fish lover since I was in elementary school. My mother always packed my lunch, and when I opened that brown paper bag and saw a tuna fish sandwich wrapped in waxed paper, I was euphoric. Now that I am an adult, my opportunities to eat tuna have increased exponentially.

In addition to tuna sandwiches, I also love tuna noodle casserole, tuna burgers, grilled tuna and cheese, and tuna pasta salad. Unfortunately, growing up, my kids hated tuna fish, so I didn’t make those dishes very often when they were still at home. Now that they are gone, I can indulge myself to my heart’s content.

A couple of years ago, my granddaughter spent the day with me and watched me eat a tuna fish sandwich. Since her father (my son) probably never brought a can of tuna into their house, she didn’t know what it was and asked for a taste of my sandwich.  I gave her a bite, and she said “this is really good.”  Hallelujah, I got another tuna lover (it just had to skip a generation). So now my son buys tuna and makes it for her at home, which pleases me no end.  Because the health benefits of tuna are amazing.

Research over the years has clearly shown anti-inflammatory benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, and tuna is an important source of omega-3’s. In an average 5-ounce can, you can get anywhere from 7-28 milligrams of EPA and 140-850 milligrams of DHA. Both types of fatty acids are necessary for regulation of the body’s inflammatory system and prevention of inflammation. The higher numbers are more reflective of the omegas in albacore tuna; the lower from canned “light” tuna. But albacore tuna may contain more mercury, so I stick with the light version since I eat it 2-3 times a week.

Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer and arthritis. They can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Because they support a healthy brain, omega-3’s may aid in the treatment of certain mental disorders such as depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Tuna contains small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin C, manganese, and zinc. But where it really shines is in its selenium content. Selenium also acts as an antioxidant, as well as boosting the immune system, regulating thyroid function, and improving blood flow.

As well, tuna is high in niacin, a B-vitamin that helps keep your digestive system, skin and nerves healthy. Niacin helps reduce harmful cholesterol levels and may increase beneficial cholesterol as well.

Do you have a cat?

Cats love tuna water. Don’t throw it down the drain. Press the lid down, squeeze the water into a bowl, and give it to your cat. You end up with a sandwich for yourself and a bowl of fishy goodness for your favorite feline. Win, win.

cat-33595_960_720

YUM!

 

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002409.htm

 

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