Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

At the start of 2019, in a survey of chefs across the country, CBD-infused food and beverages emerged as the most anticipated food trend for the year. 

Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a chemical substance found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical substance, meaning it does not create a feeling of euphoria or a “high” when consumed. While marijuana contains high levels of THC, hemp contains high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. Hemp and CBD have gained much attention since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which redefined hemp as a legal substance, granted that its THC content is less than 0.3%. In Ohio, Senate Bill 57, which passed in July, allowed licenses for hemp cultivation within the state.

Some individuals use CBD to treat anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, acne and other conditions, although more evidence is needed to support its health claims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that more investigation is also needed to establish its safety, appropriate dosing, and how it may affect different groups of people such as children, pregnant women, and seniors. Questions about whether too much CBD could be toxic or how CBD may interact with prescriptions medications are largely unanswered. Furthermore, the FDA warns that some companies market products containing CBD in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, so consumers need to beware of misleading or false claims and inaccurate labels. 

If you want to try CBD, do so with caution. If ordering a CBD-infused food or beverage from a menu, know that you are paying extra for an unknown quantity of the substance, and there is limited scientific evidence that it will benefit you. Whether CBD-infused food and beverages prove to be a helpful remedy or another passing fad is yet to be seen. This is a topic worth paying attention to, however, as it holds promise for treating chronic ailments that affect many people across Ohio and beyond.

Written by: Lisa Hillmann, MS, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu


Essman, E. & Hall, P.K. (2019). Legal or Not? Growing Industrial Hemp in Ohio. OSU Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program. https://farmoffice.osu.edu/sites/aglaw/files/site-library/HempLaw%20BulletinSept2019.pdf

Grinspoon, P. (2019). Cannabidiol (CBD) – What we know and what we don’t. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Hughes, T. (2019). Cannabis food, drinks to be 2019’s hottest dining trend, top chefs say. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/10/chefs-cannabis-food-drinks-2019-s-hottest-dining-trend/2520890002/ 

Ohio Department of Agriculture (2019). Hemp is Now Legal. https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/administration/resources/hemp-facts3

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2019). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD) https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd#othercbdapproved

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2019). What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis

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I’ve heard references to plum pudding at Christmas time for years. If you’ve read or seen Dickens’ work “A Christmas Carol,” then you know he loved to write about food. In this popular holiday classic, Dickens waxed poetic about huge turkeys and flaming plum puddings. Eating plum pudding after Christmas dinner became an English obsession during Victorian times.


Apparently a lot of symbolism goes into this English dessert, but what’s ironic is that it doesn’t even have to contain plums. It looks like a big bee’s nest and contains a mixture of dried fruits and lots of brandy. The closest comparable food item I can compare it to is mincemeat. However, we can have our plums and eat them, too, as eating them fresh or dried is much healthier.


Plums are grown locally and at their peak in early fall. Their claim to fame nutritionally is that they are particularly high in the antioxidants known as phenols. Phenols help undo damage caused by free-radical cells, especially those that damage fats. This isn’t good, as some fats in our body have extremely important functions, and one of them is in our brain cells.


Fat makes up a large percentage of our brain cells (hence the term fathead), and it helps explain why it is so important for children under the age of two to drink whole milk. They need the extra fat to help build their brain cells.


Plums are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C benefits range from building healthy tissue to helping your body absorb more iron to building up your immune system. One antioxidant found in plums that I wasn’t expecting was lutein. Lutein is usually prevalent in plant foods that are yellow or green, so I was surprised to know that plums are a good source of this necessary compound. But that’s because I was picturing plums as purple (the skin), instead of the fruit itself. Eating a food high in lutein helps reduce your risk for developing macular degeneration.


Plums are classified in six different categories, so their size, color, and shape may vary from variety to variety. They contain about 40 calories per plum and are a good source of fiber. Plums are related to the peach family and have a hard, flattish stone pit in the center. If you dry or dehydrate a plum, it turns into a prune. Both plums and prunes can help stimulate your bowels, so keep that in mind if you are trying to prevent or cure a bout of constipation.


Prunes used to be made by letting plums dry on the tree naturally via the sun (like raisins), but now they are dried in forced air tunnels heated by gas. This helps make the fruit more uniform in size. You can eat them “dry” right out of the pouch, or “wet” in a prune juice liquid. I absolutely love dried prunes, they are better than candy.


When it comes to purchasing fresh plums, try to get ones that are ripe and ready to eat. You should be able to squeeze them gently and feel a little give. It they are firm, they can be ripened at home, but if they are picked too soon, they might not have as sweet of a taste. The best time to eat a plum is when it is fully ripened, as that is when it contains the highest level of antioxidants.


Plums, and especially prunes, are sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of fruits; they don’t get a lot of respect. But now that you know how great they are, consider them a much better gift than a plum pudding!





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


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Too busy?  Late for a practice?  Another meeting?  Only way to eat is to go through the fast food lane.  Oh well, maybe they will have a quick healthy option.    

fast food meal bag

We know fast foods are usually high in fat, calories and sugar and many are also high in sodium.  Eating these frequently can have long-term consequences on our health increasing our risk of chronic diseases and obesity.  But when you are too rushed for time fast food seems to be the only option.  How can you eat healthy at fast food restaurants?  Some of the restaurants do have some healthier choices. With us buying more healthy choices and asking for additional healthy choices, they may start providing better options.  Start now to make healthier choices by following these guidelines:

  • Fill up your sandwich, salad, or bowl with vegetables, whole grains, beans, and/or seafood or other low-fat proteins.  Limit sugary items and high-starch items.
  • Aim for getting whole grains.  This is not easy as many fast food restaurants do not offer any whole grain options. For breakfast choose oatmeal. Other meals ask for a whole-grain bun or wrap.  The more people ask, the more likely it will appear on the menu. 
  • Small portions– choose the smallest portions.  Calories add up quickly.  Check out the calorie amounts on sandwiches, French fries and other fried food. Go with the smaller portion. 
  • Think non-sugary drinks.  Order water, low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, plain coffee, or sparkling or mineral water. Avoid the sodas, super coffee drinks, milkshakes and other sweetened drinks. Many have 600+ calories.   
  • Favor healthy side dishes.  Instead of French fries pick a side salad with low-fat dressing, baked potato, mini-carrots, fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option to your meal.  You can change a kid’s meal to have a fruit bowl, applesauce or sliced fruit.  At some places you can choose an apple, orange, corn on the cob or baked potato chips. 
  • Opt for grilled items instead for fried.  You will cut calories and fat.
  • Opt for a green salad with grilled chicken, shrimp, or vegetables.  Only add half the salad dressing or use on the side.  This will cut back on added fat, salt and sugar.  Skip salads in deep-fried shells or with breaded or fried ingredients.  To cut the calories reduce or skip the cheese and croutons. 
  • Decide to eat healthier.  You don’t have to take what comes with your sandwich or meal.  Ask for healthier options and substitutions. Busy day ahead, pack some mini-carrots and fruit, buy a salad or small sandwich, and you have a healthy meal. 


Salad with chicken, strawberries, nuts, oranges. Seasonal foods.
Seasonal Salad

If you see few or very limited healthy options at your favorite fast food restaurant, ask for them. The more people who ask for them the more likely the restaurant will provide some healthier options.  Calories add up quickly at fast food restaurants, so keep portions small. Enjoy your meal!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator



Sparks, D. (2019) Fast Food: Tips for choosing healthier options.  Mayo Clinic.  Available at https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/fast-food-tips-for-choosing-healthier-options/

Tufts University. (2018). Healthy Fast Food Choices?  Health & Nutrition Letter, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, 36(12). 1&3

Jiao, J; Moudon, AV; Kim, SY; Hurvitz, PM; Drewnowski, A.  (2015).  Health Implications of Adults’ Eating at and Living near Fast Food or Quick Service Restaurants. Nutrition and Diabetes 5(7) e171. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4521173/

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Older sitting at table playing card game

Nutrition and physical activity are key components to a healthy lifestyle. However, mental activity is another factor that plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle, as well as healthy brain aging. Mental activity maintains cognitive health. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are things we can do be doing to help reduce the risk of dementia and promote healthy brain aging. This includes staying physically active, eating a well balance diet, not smoking or drinking alcohol, getting adequate sleep, and exercising your mind.

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and bananas in container on counter

First, I’ll zone in on diet and foods to add that are especially important for brain health. Foods to encourage include: berries, fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens), healthy fats (almonds, cashews, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil), and fish/seafood. Berries make a fruit parfait colorful and appealing, yet nutritious. Top your favorite oatmeal with some almonds or walnuts for some plant-based protein.  There isn’t one “magic food,” but they key is to include a variety of foods and color in your diet each day. Additionally, omega 3 fatty acids have been extensively researched and their positive impact on brain health should not be ignored. Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming ~8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood. If fish isn’t your favorite, other source of omega 3 fatty acids that promote healthy brain aging are walnuts, olive oil, canola oil and flax seed.

Not only is diet important for healthy aging but exercising your mind by challenging yourself is optimal for healthy brain aging. One strategy to sharpen your mind is to keep learning. Harvard Medical School indicates advanced education may be beneficial to a stronger memory by habitually being mentally active. Mental exercise is thought to activate processes that help to maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. In addition to taking on a new class, one could read or listen to a book, play chess, do Sudoku or crossword puzzles, play games, learn a new language, or cook a new recipe.

Whenever I go to visit my 94 year old grandma, we always have to play a game, or two, of Skip-Bo. She enjoys doing any type of puzzles, word searches, and various games.  Not only is it good for her to keep her brain sharp, she’s also able to engage in conversation and socially interact with others. The key is to try new activities that use skills you usually don’t use. Challenge yourself or your family member to think a different way. Maintaining brain connections is a continuing process, so make learning a priority throughout the life span.

In addition to a well-balanced diet, and exercising your brain, sleep is another important factor to consider that promotes healthy brain aging. Again, according to Harvard Medical School, there is a strong link between adequate sleep and cognitive health. Neurobiological processes that happen while we sleep influence our mood, energy level and cognitive fitness. It plays a vital role in memory, as well as enhancing attention, problem solving, and creativity. Try limiting your use of electronic devices before bedtime, as the blue light can interfere with your sleep patterns. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for adults (26-64) and 7-8 hours of sleep for older adults (65+).

As we can see, there are many different factors to consider in order to strengthen our mental skills and memory so we decrease our chances of cognitive delay. This short, two minute video, reminds us that we can keep our brain active by still doing things you love!

Written By: Shannon Smith, RD, Program Coordinator, smith.11604@osu.edu and Susan Zies, M.Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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


Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/

National Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/

AARP, https://www.aarp.org/

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Do you love foods that are traditionally served for breakfast like pancakes, waffles, or omelets? Studies of America’s favorite foods often include: bagels, waffles, bacon, pancakes, and sausage gravy with biscuits towards the top of survey results. Many of these foods we may not actually eat that often though, because we think they are only for breakfast – and we only have time to fix a big breakfast on the weekend. Or maybe, the version of these foods we are used to, is higher in fat and calories than we know we should have? If you are in one of these groups, why not think about a made-over breakfast for dinner?

Breakfast for dinner may be an easy way to celebrate both National Fruit and Vegetable Month and National Family Meals Month as we wrap up September. The importance of those family meals can’t be overlooked. A few of those benefits include: better academics for youth, higher self-esteem, lower risk of depression, and lower risk of substance abuse. Family eating pancakes and fruit

Here is the start of a list of breakfast foods that would make great family dinners:

  • Baked or slow cooker oatmeal with berries, apples, nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon.
  • English muffin or wrap sandwich – whole grain muffin or tortilla with either nut spread with fruit, sliced veggies and cheese, or light cheese and over-easy egg.
  • French toast with sliced fruit – make sure you use a whole grain bread.
  • Egg and veggie burritos – use a whole grain tortilla, add scrambled eggs, light cheese, a few black beans, and chopped veggies (tomatoes, onion, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant).
  • Omelet – use those chopped veggies, light cheese, herbs, and left over ham/turkey/chicken.
  • Frittata – A frittata has the ingredients mixed in, rather than folded in the center like an omelet. They can be baked in a pie pan or casserole dish, cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, or made in an electric skillet. The combinations are limitless. Eggs can be combined with any type of chopped vegetable, cheese, herbs, or even a little leftover meat. To make individual frittatas, pour into well-greased muffin tins with each person adding their own choice of vegetables or favorite cheese or herb. Get creative with these – think pizza made with eggs; Italian herbs; mozzarella cheese; diced tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or onions; and a couple mini pepperoni. Or Southwest with eggs; shredded chicken; diced tomatoes, peppers, and green chilies; hot pepper cheese; and spices like cumin and chili powder. The bonus with mini muffin frittatas is you can bake them ahead and reheat for a quick breakfast or pack in a lunch.They can also be frozen and used when you need a quick dinner.        Frittata
  • Whole grain pancakes with fresh fruit or even shredded zucchini. Cooking Matters has a great Orange Oatmeal Pancake that includes orange juice, whole wheat flour, and oats – you don’t even need syrup.
  • Avocado whole grain toast – with pears, lean chicken, and greens can be quick favorite too.

By making a few minor changes to our traditional breakfast favorites like using the whole grain version, or a low fat milk or cheese, you can cut unnecessary calories and increase fiber, vitamins and minerals. Our goal is to try and choose foods from all five food groups throughout the day. Dinner is a great time to help move you in the right direction and choose a variety of foods from MyPlate (low-fat dairy or dairy substitute, fruit, vegetable, low fat meat or protein, and whole grains.)

We can’t wait to hear your favorite breakfast for dinner food. Please share your ideas in the comments section. Recipes are linked to several of the foods by following the hyperlink on the name.

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

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.


Produce for Better Health Foundation, https://fruitsandveggies.org/.

What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

Cooking Matters, https://cookingmatters.org/

The Family Dinner Project, https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/

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Babies grow rapidly and so do their needs. Children need freedom to explore, develop and connect during this rapid growth period—but in a safe environment.

To secure a safe environment, take a baby’s point of view. Get down on your hands and knees to see what is at a baby’s level.   Look for outlets, blind cords, small objects, hanging tablecloths, poisonous plants and other hazards.  Make corrections to secure safety.

Do a daily check! Be certain that toys and gear are used properly and are appropriate for your child.  Inspect baby items for missing hardware, loose threads and strings, holes and tears.  Discontinue use of these items as needed.

Follow these tips to create a safe environment for your child at every stage and age:

Sleep Safety

  • Safest place for a baby to sleep is in a bare, fully functional, properly assembled, certified crib.
  • Room share instead of bed share for the first year.
  • Avoid placing the crib or toddler bed near windows with cords from blinds or drapes.
  • When your child is able to pull up to a standing position, set the mattress to the lowest position and remove any objects that could serve as steps for climbing out of the crib.
  • It’s time to move your child to a toddler bed when he or she begins to climb out of the crib.

Car Seat Safety

  • Children should ride rear facing until they reach the maximum rear-facing weight or height allowed by the guidelines.
  • Children who exceed rear-facing limits should ride in forward facing car seats with a harness.
  • Children who exceed the forward facing harness limits should ride in a booster seat until seat belts alone fit correctly.
  • Follow car seat instructions for proper use and don’t forget to register your car seat with the manufacturer.
  • Follow your state’s child-seating requirements. The back seat is the safest place for children under 13 to ride.

Product Safety

  • Never leave children unattended during bath time and avoid distractions.
  • Never place your baby’s infant seat, swing, bouncer or car seat on a countertop, table or any raised surface.
  • Always used harnesses and straps when provided, each time.
  • When a baby begins to crawl, install gates on doorways and stairs.
  • Always follow manufacturer’s instructions, warning labels and recommendations for age and weight requirements.

Be confident you are doing everything right when it comes to baby safety. Be safe!

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

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






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Two children in hiking clothes next to a sign that says Alum Cave Trail. Trees are in the background.

The fall is a great time to get outdoors for a day hike. Day hiking is a low impact physical activity, and offers the countless health benefits of being outdoors. Being in nature, or even seeing scenes in nature, reduces anxiety, stress, improves moods and cognitive functioning. In addition to feeling better emotionally, nature contributes to physical health including reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones!

Getting Ready for a Day Hike

Hiking is a fairly, low-cost activity. Needed supplies for a half day or day hike include:

  • A comfortable pair of hiking boots or shoes
  • a backpack
  • water bottle
  • food or snacks
  • sunscreen, use even on a cloudy day to avoid burns
  • bug-spray

Dress in layers of clothing so you can add or remove as you get sweaty or take breaks. Non-cotton shirts that fit tight and wick up sweat should be the bottom layer. This will keep you dry and your temperature regulated. Changes in elevation may cause temperature changes as well.  Check the weather before you go out but be prepared for anything. Rain gear such as ponchos are inexpensive and light.

Food and Water

Nutrition is important to keep energy levels up. Consider the five major food groups when planning meals and snacks: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy. A mixture of protein and carbohydrates before, during and after the hike will keep your blood glucose steady and will help you replenish energy stores at the end of the hike. Raisins and Peanuts (GORP) is the perfect snack as it blends protein and carbohydrate. Energy bars are also helpful but can be expensive. For hikes lasting for 2 hours or more think about food safety. Keep foods that you would normally refrigerate (meats, dairy, cooked grains, leftovers, cut fruits and vegetables) cool at 40 degrees or below in an insulated pack with ice.

Hydration is critical. Be sure to drink fluid (preferably water) on a regular bases even if you aren’t thirsty. As a general rule, bring about 2 cups of fluids for every hour of hiking, and drink about 4 cups prior to hiking to prevent cramping.

Other precautions

Be wary of poisonous plants such as poison ivy and ticks. Stay on the trail as much as possible to avoid both of these problems.  Consider wearing treated clothing or bug spray on clothes, especially under the waist to avoid ticks. Tick borne illnesses are becoming more common. If possible bring a map of the trail or use GPS. It’s always a good idea to bring a friend, especially if you are a beginner hiker.

For more in-depth information on hiking, sign up for OSU Extension’s three part webinar series: Hiking and Health at go.osu.edu/hikinghealth. The webinar series is created by Family and Consumer Sciences and Ag & Natural Resources specialists who have a passion for the great outdoors. This series will aim to provide education and insight into how to properly prepare to spend time in the woods. This series will cover a variety of topics related to hiking and health, such as:

  • Food safety on the trail
  • Proper hydration techniques
  • Tick prevention
  • Plant identification
  • Proper gear selection
  • And more!

When: Tuesday October 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 11:30am – 12:30pm!

Where: Zoom! Once you register at go.osu.edu/hikinghealth, you’ll be sent Zoom links to participate in each webinar.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, Associate Professor and Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer:  Pat Brinkman, Associate Professor and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, OSU Extension


University of Minnesota. 2016. How does Nature Impact our Wellbeing? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2019. 5 Tips for Camping and Hiking. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

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