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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

There are two main types of fat found in mammals: white and brown. White fat has three primary functions: to insulate, to cushion, and to provide energy. Brown fat provides heat/warmth in newborns, because infants can’t shiver to keep warm. Instead, they burn brown fat for warmth; it is literally a heat organ. Hibernating animals also have high levels of brown fat.

a sleeping baby with exposed back and shoulders

A quarter (25%) of an infant’s body mass is brown fat, which is located on the back, primarily along the top half of the spine up towards the shoulders. In adults, how much you have and where it is located varies. Adults have much more white fat than brown fat. Whatever brown fat they have is usually located in the upper chest and the front part of the neck.

Why differentiate between the two? Brown fat, essentially, is awesome. It contains heat-producing cells of mitochondria and – unlike white fat – is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories. Brown fat gets its dark color from its high iron content.

Adults who have larger quantities of brown fat tend to be thinner because of this advantage. Brown fat is more like muscle than like white fat. Experts don’t know exactly how to help adults increase their brown fat stores in the body, but we know that always covering up or spending all of our time indoors in temperature controlled environments decreases over time the amount of brown fat in our bodies.

Parent think they are being solicitous when they sneak into their infant’s bedroom at night to “re-cover” them, but it may be beneficial metabolically for children to sleep in a cooler environment. If you touch their hands, they feel warm. However, constantly piling on blankets and/or clothing is detrimental as the brown fat stores will gradually dissipate.

a couple walking outdoors, dressed in winter coats

Remember–brown fat is activated by cold. Spending time in the cold may enable you to grow new brown fat cells according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. So keep that thermostat at a lower temperature during the winter. Take long walks out-of-doors. It will help you burn more calories, as well as save money on your utility bills.

Sources:

Healthline (2018). Brown fat: What you should know. https://www.healthline.com/health/brown-fat#1

Rutgers University (2019). Why brown fat is good for people’s health. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190821135238.htm

National Institutes of Health (2019). How brown fat improves metabolism. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-brown-fat-improves-metabolism

New England Journal of Medicine (1984). Thermogenesis in Brown Adipose Tissue as an Energy Buffer – Implications for Obesity. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198412133112407

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

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

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Did you know there is a whole grain for every month, according to the Whole Grain Council? This month, quinoa takes center stage. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a nutritious, versatile whole grain. It’s becoming quite popular on salad buffets and in many household favorite recipes.

Quinoa is considered a whole grain and a complete protein packed with nutrition. In fact, it is the only plant food providing all nine essential amino acids needed in the human body. Quinoa is high in potassium and full of antioxidants. This grain provides at least 20% of the recommended daily values for magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid and manganese. As a whole grain, quinoa is unique in that the germ makes up 60% of the grain (compared to 3% of wheat germ). One quarter cup serving of quinoa has 160 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Quinoa is a gluten free grain and provides a healthy alternative for people who must avoid gluten.

Image of quinoa growing in Andean Plain

Considered an ancient grain, Quinoa originates from the plains near the Andes mountains of South America. Now it is grown in over 50 countries. Quinoa seeds grow on plants with stalks that can be three to nine feet tall. The seeds are harvested by hand, because they mature at different rates. There are over 120 varieties of quinoa grown today, and a variety of colors. Interestingly, quinoa seeds are coated with a layer of saponins which provides natural protection against pests. The saponin can taste very bitter, therefore quinoa is rinsed during production. Often recipes will instruct to rinse quinoa before using to wash away any remaining saponin.

There are many ways to prepare quinoa, including as a whole grain, flakes and flour. To cook quinoa, use one cup of dried grain and 2 cups of liquid, such as water or soup stock. Boil, then simmer for 12- 15 minutes to yield 3 cups of cooked grain. You may see a small white ring ‘pop’ out of the grain when the quinoa is done. This ring is the germ.  You can also prepare quinoa in a rice cooker, using 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups liquid. Quinoa works well in cold and hot grain salads, side dishes and pilafs. You can cook quinoa as a hot breakfast cereal, stirring in cinnamon and diced fruit or nuts. You can swap rice for quinoa in dishes. Try serving quinoa on salads or using in place of pasta in salads. You can even ‘pop’ quinoa using these instructions from Harvard School of Public Health. You can use quinoa flakes interchangeable with oatmeal in many recipes like granola.

Colorful quinoa salad

My favorite dish is Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. You can search for that title and find many yummy recipes. Mmm makes me hungry just thinking about it. Try a few recipes and see which is your new favorite.

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

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, County

Sources:

Quinoa. 2020. Harvard School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/quinoa/

Quinoa – March Grain of the Month. Whole Grains Council. Retrieved 3/20 from https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/quinoa-%E2%80%93-march-grain-month

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diabetes

Live Well with Diabetes

Learning you have diabetes is a significant life change.   It is common to feel sad or angry with the diagnosis.  Managing your blood sugar is the key to living well with diabetes.  Below are some suggestions to manage your blood sugar and live your best life:

  • Know Your Type of Diabetes

Learn about your type of diabetes. Talk with your physician and get the facts.

  • Monitor Your Blood Sugars

Check your blood sugars as directed by your physician and record your readings.                Your readings reveal how food, activity, stress and medications affect your blood                sugars.

  • Know your A1C

A1C is a simple blood test that gives you a picture of your average blood sugar level            over the past two to three months. For most adults with diabetes, an A1C of less                  than 7% is ideal. This indicates good blood sugar control which helps reduce risks              of diabetes complications.

  • Eat Well

Work with a Registered Dietitian or a Certified Diabetes Educator to develop a meal           plan. Prepare healthy meals every day, learn what foods contain the most                             carbohydrates, and understand how carbohydrates fit into your meal plan.

  • Be Active

Physical  activity is one of the best tools for managing diabetes.  Strive for daily                   activity and keep it fun.  Vary your routine to keep from getting bored. You might               join a social group that walks, sign up for a bowling league, visit a park or find                     interesting places to walk such as the zoo, shopping malls or museums.

  • Seek Support
    A well-rounded team of healthcare experts will teach you how to manage diabetes and minimize associated health risks. Your healthcare team should include a primary care provider, endocrinologist, registered dietitian, diabetes educator and a pharmacist.  Family and friends are also valuable members of your team.

 

  • Manage Medications

Take any medications prescribed by your physician regularly and on time. Learn                what each medication does and why you are taking it and set up a system to make              it easier to manage medications.

  • Create a Diabetes Tool Kit

In addition to keeping a blood sugar log and a medication chart to share with                      healthcare providers in case of an emergency, you may want to create a small                      travel bag that contains an ID card or bracelet; a meter, lancet and test strips;                      diabetes medications; an insulin pen, syringe and test strips, fast acting sugar                      tablets.

  •   You may also want to have coping techniques in your toolkit

Make diabetes a part of life instead of life being all about diabetes!

 

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

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

 

References:

American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bottles of disinfectant wipes.

Cleaning up messes? Flu season? Coughing and sneezing? Grab those disinfectant wipes!

Germs will be gone, right? Yes, but those wipes may contain Environmental Protection Agency-registered pesticides.  Yes that’s right, pesticides.  Some of these products should not be used around children, especially small children.  Many of the ingredients in these products have been linked with health problems, such as asthma and increasing allergies. 

Why do disinfectant products contain these substances?  Manufacturers of disinfectants must prove the active ingredients they use can kill specific bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause dangerous blood, lung, bone, and heart valve infections) on surfaces. Any claims on the label about specific viruses must also be substantiated.  Active ingredients include: 

Caution label on disinfectant wipes saying "Keep Out of Reach of Children."
  • Bleach (or sodium hypochlorite)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds—QACs or “quats” for short. The name on the label will be alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, and other types of “benzyl ammonium chloride.”  Products containing quats must bear a caution: “Keep out of reach of children.”  The wipes containing quats are of real concern for children as they have been marketed to schools and teachers.

Research with mostly adults have shown possible causes of asthma include bleach and quats.  Consumer Reports spoke to some experts who felt the active ingredients in disinfectant wipes were more concerning for children, because they breathe in more air per pound of body weight than adults.  Thus, their exposure is higher than an adult.   

It’s important to realize there is a difference in cleaning products and disinfectant products.  Cleaning products will clean but don’t disinfect.  Most of the time cleaning is all that is needed.  Soap and water will remove dirt, soil and some germs and are good to use most of the time. Some wipes are just for cleaning, and some are disinfectant wipes.    

When used properly disinfectant wipes and products can be effective in killing germs and controlling infections in certain healthcare settings and in our homes. When you have a mess of vomit or diarrhea then you should use a disinfectant. When using disinfectants keep children away from the area.  Most disinfectants need to be on the surface for several minutes to work.  Check the label and use as directed.   

Check the EPA for a list of cleaning products that are considered to be safer. The EPA screens out products that may be linked to asthma or breathing difficulties. A 2019 article in the American Journal of Infection Control found hydrogen peroxide had less negative health effects. It could be an alternative to consider.     

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

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

References:

Boyle, M. (2015). The Trouble with Disinfecting Wipes, Available at https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/09/trouble-disinfecting-wipes

Environmental Protection Agency, (2020). Safer Choice, Available at https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/products

Roberts, C. (2020). Consumer Reports: Why Parents Should Be Cautious When Using Household Disinfectants Disinfecting wipes can help eliminate some germs, but they also contain EPA-registered pesticides  Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/cleaning/when-using-household-disinfectants-parents-should-be-cautious/?EXTKEY=YSOCIAL_FB

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 18% or 13.7 million children and adolescents in the United States are obese. This means that they have a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC growth charts. It is projected that this epidemic will affect 50-80% of children in the United States by 2030.

Childhood obesity can result from an unbalanced diet consisting of high-calorie, low nutrient food and drink choices, lack of physical activity, and a rise in sedentary, screen-focused activities such as video gaming. Many studies have shown that children with obesity are at increased risk of developing short-term weight-related health conditions, as well as chronic conditions later in life. These children have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even premature death. This condition can also impact mental health in children, causing isolation stemming from bullying, depression, poor self-esteem, and a general lack of confidence.

BUT! There is good news. Obesity does not have to follow children into adulthood. Adopting positive lifestyle choices as children can help establish healthy habits and prevent the onset of these weight-related health conditions. Although genetics and metabolic rates differ from one child to another, healthy eating and living an active lifestyle can help manage their weight status, regardless of whether the child is at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

You may be thinking this sounds great in an ideal world where kids get excited about eating their greens, and request grilled chicken instead of chicken nuggets, but that’s just not the world we live in. So how can we get our kids to eat nutrient-packed, lower calorie foods?

Use fun colors! – Instead of using traditional colored foods, here are some fun ideas to make your child’s plate more vibrant:

  • Try rainbow colored carrots instead of regular carrots.
  • Make a rainbow veggie wrap with bright colored peppers, spinach, and red cabbage.
  • You can also use red cabbage juice, blueberry juice, or other natural dyes to color cauliflower, rice, and yogurt a new color!

Use fun shapes! – Try creating fun, new shapes with ordinary foods. rocket shaped sandwich with vegetables

  • Use cookie cutters to cut fruit or veggies into interesting shapes.
  • Try using a spiralizer or a spiral veggie knife to present vegetables into noodles or zoodles.

Hide the fruits and veggies! – Disguise fruits and vegetables in your child’s favorite foods

  • Create a tasty, nutrient-rich smoothie with your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables and freeze it into ice pops for a tasty treat.
  •  Substitute traditional dishes with healthier options that appear the same. Examples include mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash to replace regular pasta.
  • Add healthier substitutes in a dish that looks similar. Try adding squash to macaroni and cheese, chopped vegetables in meatballs, or making chocolate pudding with banana, avocado, cocoa powder, and vanilla!

Lastly, get your kids involved in the kitchen! Letting children help in meal preparation can motivate them to eat the dish they helped create.

  • Mother and daughter shopping for fruit.It begins at the grocery store – Consider bringing kids along and let them help you pick the produce they find most appealing.
  • Encourage your child to find a recipe they want to make, which includes a fruit or vegetable, and make it together.
  • Give your child age-appropriate tasks during meal prep such as washing the produce, mixing ingredients, and setting the table!

Check out the Ohio State University Extension Office’s Nutrition page for information about additional activities, classes, and education. Incorporating these fun, simple ideas into your child’s routine can help them develop lifelong healthy habits which prevent the onset of conditions related to obesity. Teaching our children how to practice these lifestyle changes can impact this generation, and generations to come!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html

The Harvard Gazette: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/harvard-study-pinpoints-alarming-obesity-trends/

About the Author: Olyvia Norton is a senior student in the Nutrition and Food Science, Dietetics program at Middle Tennessee State University. Her interests are in clinical nutrition, specifically pediatric nutrition and nutrition support. She serves as the President of the Students of Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is an active member of the Nutrition and Dietetics Association at Middle Tennessee State University and works as a dietitian’s assistant in Middle Tennessee for patients with special needs. Olyvia also enjoys serving on medical mission teams outside of the United States to bring better nutrition to underserved populations in developing countries.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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Man looking at butter and margarine

Happy February! As you may know, February is National Heart Month… the perfect time to think about making heart healthy choices. For heart health, what would you choose? Butter vs margarine? Beef vs chicken?

Heart healthy eating includes choosing food with less saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated is a word that refers to the chemical structure of some fat where molecules stack on top of each other and are rigid. As such, saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature and are found mostly in animal products. The fat in most red meat is more saturated than the fat in chicken, turkey, and fish. Buying leaner cuts of meat and removing the skin from poultry can help reduce fat content. Eating less cheese is another way to cut back. Experts suggest eating no more than 22 g of saturated fat per day for a 2,000 diet, and that can add up quickly! For example, 1 oz of cheese (equivalent to 4 dice or 1 small slice) has about 5-6 grams! Products with more than 20% of the RDA for saturated fat per serving, as listed on the nutrition facts panel, are high sources.

Trans-fats or trans fatty acids are formed when vegetable oils are made into margarine or shortening. Trans-fats are found in foods made with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening.” Baked goods such as cookies, donuts, pie crusts, and pastries often will have small amounts of trans-fats. Too much trans-fat in the diet will raise bad blood cholesterol levels and lower good. Read labels to check for trans fats, but beware that food manufacturers can indicate that there are 0 grams of trans-fat if their product has less than .5 grams per serving. A better indication of whether trans-fats are present in a product is to look for the term “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

In contrast to saturated fats and trans-fats, unsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature and come from plant-based sources. When used in moderation and in place of saturated fats and trans-fats, unsaturated fats such as those contained in liquid oils can help improve blood cholesterol. Use liquid oils as much as possible when baking, frying, spreading. Canola, peanut, safflower, and olive oils are excellent choices.

So butter vs margarine? Butter will contain saturated fat and hard margarines have the issue of containing trans-fats. Soft or whipped margarines are a good choice but are best as a bread spread and not always appropriate for baking. Whatever you choose, all fats have the same amount of calories (9 cal/ gram) so go easy.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, MPH, RD, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

The Cleveland Clinic (2014). Fat: What you need to know. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11208-fat-what-you-need-to-know

The American Heart Association (2017). The Skinny on Fats. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia/the-skinny-on-fats

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A few weeks ago, I ran into a colleague and asked, “Hello, how are you?” My colleague enthusiastically responded, “I’m great!”

This response caught me off guard. It was not what I expected. I was used to hearing tired and busy. To be honest that was the response I was used to replying with as well.

Have you noticed how tired and busy are becoming a common response when asked how are you doing? I understand it. Those two words rule my routines some days. How can we move past tired and busy?

It’s possible that a medical condition may be contributing to your tired. Allergies, depression, sleep apnea, low iron, thyroid issues and more can increase fatigue. If a possible health condition is causing your fatigue, extra sleep or exercise may not be the answer. A conversation with your family doctor can rule this out and help you make the changes you need personally.

Looking at your sleep health and hygiene may help reduce your tired. According to Harvard University, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Nearly 50% of Americans get less than the recommended amount. When sleep is reduced or cut short our bodies don’t have time to complete what is needed and the result is that we wake up unprepared for the day.

Coffee, sodas, and energy drinks are often the first line of defense to combat tired, but these common solutions may be contributing to feeling tired. Caffeine is a stimulant but can have an opposite effect. Studies show that while some energy drinks may increase alertness for several hours, participants were often more tired the following day. Too much caffeine can contribute to insomnia or make it difficult to fall asleep. Caffeine is also known to increase anxiety, nervousness, stress levels, and jitteriness. Studies have shown that it is safe for most people when consumed in low to moderate amounts.

Can the way we look at things contribute to our “tired and busy”? I think so! For example,

instead of looking at a long to-do list as something you HAVE to do consider the perspective that you GET to. Look carefully at your list. What are you busy with? Sincerely, the answer to “busy” may be doing less. It is hard to slow down when there are a million things to accomplish. A long critical look at a calendar and to-do list can be influential in what to keep and what can go. A slowdown may also be the answer in the way you do things. Slowing down could mean being present, and being mindful of whatever you are doing at that moment.

In addition to examining my schedule and lifestyle, I promised myself that I would focus on a positive aspect of my life when responding to the question, “How are you?” 

I probably will be tired or busy every time someone asks me that question, but shifting my focus when responding will help me. Will you join me in responding with something besides tired or busy when asked how you are doing?  

MedlinePlus. (2019, April 30). Caffeine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html

Phillips, D. T. (2016, April 27). Slow down to get ahead. Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/slow-down-to-get-ahead/

Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How much sleep do we really need. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

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