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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

a mason jar containing refrigerator radish pickles

What do you do with freshly harvested spring radishes? I typically just eat them raw with cream cheese or hummus or occasionally add them to a salad. This year, though, I was introduced to a tasty new way to prepare spring radishes: seasoned refrigerator radish pickles!

The recipe used as a template in making the video above is customizable. Rather than using dill, we added parsley. Rather than adding garlic cloves, we used fresh chives. We added the mustard seeds and red pepper flakes recommended in the recipe, then supplemented those spices with whole, black peppercorns and celery seed. Fennel seed could be another nice addition.

For the brine, we chose to use apple cider vinegar for added flavor. While apple cider vinegar has many purported health benefits, none are supported by good evidence. Registered Dietitians from the OSU Wexner Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic caution that while apple cider vinegar is safe to use in small amounts, it is not intended for the treatment or management of medical conditions, and it is definitely not a cure-all.

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used to flavor and preserve foods, however, and it is ”appreciated as a culinary agent”.  We chose to use this flavorful vinegar in making the brine for our refrigerator radish pickles.  

After adding brine to prepared vegetables for refrigerator pickles, refrigerate them for at least 4 hours to allow flavor to develop; 24-48 hours is even better. Cooperative Extension resources recommend consuming refrigerator pickles within 2 weeks.

Quick pickled vegetables like radishes are great topping additions to salads, bowls, soups, and tacos, and are even a great simple snack. Will you give them a try today? If so, please leave a comment below sharing your favorite recipe and use for refrigerator pickles.

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic (2021). Exploring the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/exploring-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

Hoover, A. (2020). Apple cider vinegar myths and facts. West Virginia University Extension Service. https://extension.wvu.edu/food-health/cooking/apple-cider-vinegar-myths-facts  

Todini, K. (2020). Quick Dill Pickled Radishes. Fork in the Road. https://www.forkintheroad.co/dill-pickled-radishes/

Treiber, L. (2015). Refrigerated pickled spring vegetables. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/refrigerated_pickled_spring_vegetables

Weber, M. (2019). Does vinegar have health benefits? The OSU Wexner Medical Center. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/does-vinegar-have-health-benefits

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

Reviewed by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County

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clear glass with a red colored beverage sitting on a pool ledge

As thoughts of summer activities start to fill people’s minds, images of beaches, pool trips, and one’s favorite refreshing beverage are often visualized. As the weather heats up, people all over the world swarm to bodies of water to find a refreshing relief from the hot sun. However, what about our bodies of water? The human body is 55-65% water, and so often, people neglect to replenish themselves, which can lead to dehydration.

What causes dehydration?

            Dehydration happens when water losses from the body exceed water replacement.  Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Dehydration can be caused by a variety of medical issues, but in general, it can be caused by:

  • Failure to replenish water losses.
  • Excessive water loss from the skin due to exercise, heat, or even sunburns.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Increased aging.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

            Dehydration can be fatal, so it is essential to know the common signs and symptoms of dehydration to prevent it from progressing to a deadly point. According to the National Health Service4, common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • a dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • peeing little, and fewer than four times daily

It is important to note that individuals with specific conditions such as diabetes or certain medications such as diuretics are more prone to dehydration.A quick and easy way to access dehydration is with a simple test of someone’s skin turgor, often called the dehydration pinch test. The great thing about knowing this tool is that it is quick, easy, and can be performed by anyone.

How to Avoid Dehydration

            As the weather continues to heat up, consuming the appropriate amount of water is vital for one’s overall health. Adequate amounts for water have been determined for generally healthy people and are based on age and gender. For women, the amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day, and for men, about 15.5 cups. Basic tips to help meet your recommended daily fluid intakes and avoid dehydration are:

  • Eat foods with high amounts of water like fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit drinks with alcohol.
  • Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.
  • Carry around a full water bottle with you wherever you go.

Not everyone is a fan of plain water, and if you are one of these people, try one of these recipes to not only spice up your water but help increase your daily water consumption.

If you or your loved one has severe dehydration symptoms, including excessive thirst, fever, rapid heartbeat, fast breathing, little or no urine, concentrated urine with a dark color and pungent odor or confusion, contact your doctor immediately!

Written by: Madison Barker, Guest Author from Middle Tennessee State University, Nutrition and Food Science major with a concentration in Dietetics.

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

References

  1. Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. [Updated 2020 Apr 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/
  2. Alcohol use and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  3. Schols JM, De Groot CP, van der Cammen TJ, Olde Rikkert MG. Preventing and treating dehydration in the elderly during periods of illness and warm weather. J Nutr Health Aging. 2009;13(2):150-157. doi:10.1007/s12603-009-0023-z
  4. Dehydration. National Health Service UK. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/. Published August 9, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.
  5. Gordon B. How Much Water Do You Need. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need. Published November 6, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2021.

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While May is considered National Strawberry Month, late May and early June are the perfect time to pick your own or purchase locally grown berries in the Mid-West. To select the very best berries – choose those with full red color, as they will not continue to ripen like some other fruits. The caps should be attached, bright green, and fresh looking. Check berries before refrigerating to ensure there is no mold or damaged areas, these areas can spread to other berries. Refrigerate berries quickly, wash and remove caps only when ready to use. Do not float berries in water when washing, as they will lose color and flavor. Use fresh within 3 days.

If you want to save strawberries that may be low cost now for future use, consider tray freezing. After a quick rinse and pat dry, place berries on a cookie sheet covered with wax or parchment paper and freeze for 1 – 2 hours. Your choice if you remove the stem before or after freezing – it depends on what you want to do with them in the future. Once frozen, roll paper to slide fruit into freezer safe storage container. Remove any air from bag or fill other containers almost full to prevent damage from freezer burn.

The wonderful thing about strawberries is that you get a large serving – 1 cup of fruit = approximately 50 calories. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and contain fiber, folate, and potassium. Their low glycemic index makes them a great choice for diabetics looking for low carbohydrate, healthy foods. Be creative with your use of strawberries in meals or snacks.

Try:

  • On salads
  • On pancakes with no syrup
  • On cereal or oatmeal
  • In your smoothie or yogurt parfait
  • Infused strawberry and basil water
  • Chopped into muffin or quick breads in place of blueberries
  • Sliced on angel food cake – no icing
  • Making a breakfast pocket with a whole wheat tortilla – spread a little light cream cheese with cinnamon on the tortilla, cover with sliced berries, and toast both sides on a lightly sprayed griddle or pan
  • Or made into a quick, less sugar strawberry freezer jam. This recipe is easy for even young children to make.

STRAWBERRY FREEZER JAM

1 quart of strawberries (about 1 2/3 cups)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons instant pectin

Yields 4 jars of jam – freeze for storage

Directions: Wash hands and preparation area before beginning. Remove leaves/stems and any bad spots from washed strawberries. Add sugar, pectin, and strawberries to bowl and begin crushing strawberries. Stir for 3 minutes. Fill jars/containers with jam and freeze or refrigerate to store. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Strawberries, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5531.

Source: “Put It Up”, National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and Clemson Extension.

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

Reviewer: Kate Shumaker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Holmes County.

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This is the time of year when family and friends gather to enjoy outdoor activities and meals together.  Whether you are sitting on a blanket with a picnic basket or are the grill master in your backyard it is important that we all stay safe and healthy!

Each year millions of people contract and are hospitalized from a foodborne illness. The most common factors of foodborne illness are poor personal hygiene, cross contamination, cooking to the incorrect temperature, and time and temperature abuse. 

Anytime you prepare or handle food you want to wash your hands! Washing hands before and after any task and between handling different food items along cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards and countertops can prevent cross contamination.  Washing your hands can eliminate bacteria from being spread to other food items. 

The USDA temperature “Danger Zone” is between 40°F and 140°F this is when bacteria grows the most rapidly.  This means any cold food items that rise above 40°F and hot food items that drop below 140°F has entered the danger zone and can become hazardous.  Food should not be left at room temperature for more than a two-hour cumulative period. Any food that has been in the “danger zone” for more than two hours should be discarded. 

Another cause of foodborne illness is cooking foods at the incorrect internal cooking temperature.  Cooking meat at the correct internal temperature is an important step to preventing foodborne illness.

Internal Cooking temperature: 

Poultry- 165°F

Ground Meat- 160°F

Fish and Shellfish- 145°F

Steaks and Chops- 145°F

An inexpensive gadget to have to ensure you are staying out of the temperature “danger zone” and cooking to the correct internal temperature is a thermometer.  There are a variety of types so when buying a thermometer make sure you purchase the correct type for what you want to use it for. 

Following these simple rules can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and will keep your family and friends safe at all your meals together!

References:

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Retrieved May 17,2021 from  https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Retrieved May 17,2021 from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Retrieved May 18,2021 from https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus/returning-to-work/protection/handwashing

Written by:  Kellie Lemly, MEd, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Laura Halladay,NDTR, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County, Halladay.6@osu.edu

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When was the last time you fell in love? Maybe it was when you found a special someone, got a new puppy or saw a beautiful grand-baby for the first time. What about falling in love with nature? It only takes a moment to stop and notice things happening in nature, and the good news is you do not have to be a naturalist to reap the benefits of bringing nature into your daily life!

Experiencing nature can be a simple as stopping to notice the big, puffy white clouds in the sky or watching the sun set from your window. The other day I found beautiful bright pink pinecones on a tree that I walk by every single day and never noticed. When we stop and notice the little things in nature, we begin experiencing a deeper connection to something more.

Pink pinecones
Photo source: Shari Gallup, 2021. “Pink Pinecones.”

Nature has a way of calming and healing the human mind and body. Have you ever noticed that you feel happier when you spend time in nature?

Spending time in nature can reduce blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Research done in hospitals, offices and schools found that the presence of a plant in a workroom can decrease stress and anxiety, and office plants have been shown to reduce employee sick days and improve work productivity.

It is easy to let daily life go by with the busyness of ballgames, work, and other activities, but it only takes a moment to stop and “smell the roses.”  If it is not possible to get outside, here are a few ways to bring nature inside:

Bring plants indoors: I keep a mint plant on my desk and between meetings, I scratch the leaf to release the oil scent and take a few deep breaths in through my nose. My eyes naturally begin to close, and I become calm. Plants help reduce stress and tension. Choose plants that you enjoy and that are easy to grow indoors, or bring in fresh flowers and place them in a container where you can see them.  

Bring the smell of nature indoors: Bring in aromatic flowers, herbs, or pinecones, or use diffusers, candles, or sprays in natural scents like pine, citrus, lavender, or lemon.

Watch the birds:  Set up a bird or suet feeder near a popular window, grab a pair of binoculars if you have one, and watch nature from indoors. There is a lot of great information available from the National Audubon Society if you are new to bird watching, and there are many benefits to becoming a bird nerd

If you want to fall in love with nature, start with something small at first, or choose just one of the suggestions above and go slow…that’s the whole idea!

If you would like to learn more, please join me for a free class on Nature and Nutrition on June 9th at noon!  Register at https://go.osu.edu/wellnessweds.

Written by Shari Gallup, MS, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Licking County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, MPH, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County and Laura Stanton, MS, Family and Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Warren County.

Sources:

Beans, Laura (2014).  Study Shows Living Close to Nature Improves Mental Health. https://www.ecowatch.com/study-shows-living-close-to-nature-improves-mental-health-1881858780.html

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (2015). #PlantsDoThat. https://consumerhort.org/plantsdothat-3/

University of Minnesota. Taking Charge of Your Wellbeing. Healing Environment. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/healing-environment  

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Tents at a Farmers' Market

Mid-May and farmers’ markets are back. Farmers’ markets are great places to get fresh produce (often picked that morning) and get inspired to eat and/or cook with fresh ingredients. Since this is the beginning of the fresh produce season in Ohio, produce will probably be limited for a few weeks.  Produce you may find include:

  • fresh lettuces
  • green onions
  • asparagus
  • rhubarb
  • herbs
  • mushrooms
  • strawberries
  • cabbage
  • radishes

Some producers may have other produce which they grew in a green house or purchased from someone in a southern state. These can be delicious too. 

To locate a farmers’ market near you check here. Most farmers’ markets have other items for sale too, such as baked goods, honey, jams/jelly, soap, plants, meat, eggs, cheese and others. There have been gift items, jewelry, homemade cards and décor items at a local farmers’ market I visit. Some farmers’ markets require you to order ahead for pick up. Other ones are open for people to walk around and check out what is available.   

If you are looking for organic food items, many farmers’ markets have a wide variety of options that may be certified organic or grown with specific practices that vendors would be happy to share with you.

Not sure what to look for when purchasing foods in season now? 

strawberries in pint containers
  • Choose loose leaf lettuce over iceberg for more nutritional benefits. Choose lettuce with healthy outer leaves that are green and crisp, not withered and/or with brown or yellow edges. Darker green colors indicate higher nutritional value, and don’t negligent the purple edges or other darker colors as those contain other good nutrients. Don’t forget to choose spinach, kale, and collards. Choose firm, heavy heads of cabbage. 
  • Fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market are delicious. They are usually ripe all the way through, smell wonderful, and taste great. They may not last as long in the refrigerator as grocery store ones, but they have so much more taste. 
  • Choose asparagus that have stalks able to stand up with firm heads, and a smooth texture. 
  • Mushrooms should look fresh and smell good. One surprising fact is you can’t overcooking your mushrooms. Whether sautéing mushrooms quickly or in an hour-long dish cooking in the oven mushrooms retain a firm texture. Enjoy them in many different dishes.   
  • The size of rhubarb stalks are not important. If you want a sweeter and richer taste choose deep red stalks, which are usually not as tart. Mixing rhubarb and strawberries in a pie helps reduce the sugar needed to keep it from being tart. Check out this Rhubarb Strawberry Topping for pancakes, ice cream and yogurt. Rhubarb stalks are a good source of potassium. Don’t eat the leaves of rhubarb as they are poisonous. 

Another one that can’t be beat at the farmers’ market is when they have fresh tomatoes, usually in July, August and September. It’s a explosion of flavor in your mouth compared to eating store purchased tomatoes. 

Enjoy buying from a local farmer’s market as it supports your local economy. Check out what day your local farmers’ market happens and go shopping!

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

Reviewer:   Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Coshocton County

Sources:

Franzen-Castle, L. (2021). Healthy Bites for May: National Asparagus Month. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.  Available at https://food.unl.edu/healthy-bites-may-national-asparagus-month

Ohio Proud. (2021). Find a Farmer’s Market.   Available at http://ohioproud.org/farm-markets-all/farmers-market-search/find-a-farmers-market/#!directory/map

Tufts University, (2021). “Five Fun Food Facts You Should Know,” Health & Nutrition Letter, Tufts University, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, 39 (2) p.6

University of Illinois Extension. (2021). “Watch Your Garden Grow Rhubarb,” University of Illinois Extension.  Available at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/veggies/rhubarb.cfm

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Man thinking about a tangerine

As consumers, we all are philosophers whether we know it or not. We practice philosophy at the grocery store, the restaurant, when we prepare meals, when we eat, and when we dispose of unused food. We practice food ethics. Our decisions, actions, and judgements about food are guided by a set of values, and are made for the perceived common good for ourselves, often our families, and perhaps the larger community and society. The set of food values that we prioritize in our decision making differs from person to person, stage of life, culture, and situation. Food values and their definitions include:

Healthfulness– Healthy foods are nutrient dense and minimally processed (low in fat, sodium, added sugar, and high in fiber).

Safety– Preparation minimizes cross contamination, foods have been cooked to proper temperature, foods are stored properly, food packages are not spoiled or damaged.

Quality– Foods are fresh, visually appealing, and/ or tasteful.

Food Waste Avoidance– Foods should not rot, expire, or become inedible. Food should be consumed only by humans. Foods not eaten can be composted and used to produce more food.

Low Cost– Foods are inexpensive per unit (ounce, calorie, etc).

Convenience– Foods are easy to prepare. Foods are easy to store, or have a long shelf life. Minimal time and effort is needed to acquire food.

Social and Cultural Acceptability– Foods are preferred by a cultural group. Foods are acceptable according to religious beliefs. Foods are accessed appropriately according to cultural or social standards and without stigma. Foods can easily be stored, prepared, and consumed using available resources and knowledge.

Localness– Foods that stimulate the local economy via local production and retail. Foods that stimulate social connections between producers and consumers.

Environmental Sustainability- Food is produced, acquired, and consumed in ways that preserve environmental value for future generations. Limits water pollution and soil degradation. Preserves fossil fuels and fresh water. Reduces greenhouse gas emission.

Workers Rights– Food is produced by workers who receive fair compensation, have legal rights, and opportunities for education and advancement. Farms and factories are safe and clean.

Animal Welfare– Meat production avoids cruelty at animal housing, transport, and slaughter.

Food For Thought…What are your top five values when making decisions about food? Have they changed over the course of your life? Perhaps there is a value that you hadn’t thought much about, and would like to do some more research on. Have you ever noticed that your values conflict with those of others in your family or community?

Conversations Starters…Looking for something to talk about at the dinner table? Pass out this list and ask your family members what their top 5 food values are. You might find that youth have a completely different set of values than you have. Older generations also might have different values as well. After listening to everyone’s top values, lead off your questions by asking “what, how, why” and withhold judgement. By listening and learning about their values, you can learn about the experiences and attitudes of different generations. These conversations might also change your values when it comes to food.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, MSPH Associate Professor, Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County

Sources:

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Core Ethical Commitments. Accessed on 5/11/2021 at Core Ethical Commitments – Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics (jhu.edu)

Streiffer, R., Piso, Z., Sweeney, G., Remley, D., & Forcone, T. (2007). An Expanded Understanding of the Ethical Importance of Civic Engagement in Food Sourcing Decisions at the Institutional Level. Internal Medicine22(7), 1018-23.

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Anyone else love saying good-bye to winter?  Warm spring days with the sunshine on my face, birds chirping, the smell of the flowers blooming, and a walk outside are some of my favorite times.  I also love the rainy spring days, the rainbows, and curling up with a good book listening to the rain on the roof.  Spring cleaning is also an important part of these longer days.  Whether it is planting flowers, organizing closets, or purging, there is always a sense of accomplishment as I re-order my corner of the world.

In November 2019, I began a “spring cleaning” journey for my physical and mental health.  I wanted to share with you some research and tips that have helped me as I have worked to bring the new-ness of spring into my daily life no matter the actual season.

THROW OUT THE TRASH. Be kind to yourself.  This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is not.  Over the last few years, I noticed myself becoming more and more critical and more and more judgmental, and not just to those around me.  I had become my own worst critic and was very unkind to those around me.  I am learning to be kind to myself and I am stepping back when the actions of others don’t make sense to me. Learning to be kind includes practicing positive self-talk, forgiveness, and taking it slow on a personal level.  Positive self-talk helps reduce stress, boosts confidence, and helps with relationships. I am trying to stop trash-talking myself. And for those around me, I am learning to ease off on the pressure I am creating for them to also fit in to a perfect mold. I am remembering to tell myself daily something I learned in middle school, “I am a very special and worthwhile person, and I deserve the very best”.

OUT THE JUNK AND IN WITH THE NEW. Let your breath help you to breathe in the good and breathe out the old. Our bodies are so amazing– we breathe even when we are not intentional about it. Yet, when I take moments each day to stop and slow my breathing and to let myself just be, my world reorders itself in to chunks I can handle. My self-care spring-cleaning has opened my eyes to the clutter I carry in my mind. I am learning that the past should stay in the past, I cannot change it.  The future has not happened, I cannot change it.  So now I am trying to live each moment of today being fully present and enjoying each moment.  My presence in a moment is my gift to me and those I am with.  When I feel my thoughts drifting to places that are cluttered, I stop and I breathe slowly in and out for 20-30 seconds. Controlled breathing can lower blood pressure, improve immune systems, increase physical energy, and increase feelings of calm and wellbeing.

FRESHENING UP THE SPACE. Add something that you need to your day—something that makes your heart sing.  As I began this reset of myself, I realized that I had stopped really listening to my body and to what I needed to be healthy. I am eating healthier and listening to how my body responds when I eat too many foods with carbs or sugars. For me, I become sluggish and angry.  I am exercising more regularly—yoga, walking, ZUMBA, stretching, and not sitting at my desk all day long. I am wearing more sparkles and colors and finding ways to look at myself with new eyes. I am listening to the music I enjoy. I am talking with my friends. I am opening up to the joy of the world around me. I am finding more gratitude.

I hope you are able to let the showers and sunshine of spring help you to find a space for rejuvenation and rest.  You are worth every second you spend in spring cleaning your personal and internal spaces.

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

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

Resources:

Mead, E. (2021, February 18). What is Positive Self-Talk? (Incl. Examples). PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/positive-self-talk/

Publishing, H. H. (202AD, July 6). Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

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a bowl of fruit salad

Summer is a magnificent season, when outdoor activities abound, and cookouts happen seemingly every weekend. Think of the general spread at a cookout. What comes to mind? Common cookout options include hotdogs, hamburgers, watermelon, chips, dip, and sweets. Unfortunately, many people do not take advantage of the summertime produce available, when it is at its freshest and typically best price. During the summer season, fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, lemons, and limes are all in peak harvest, as are vegetables such as corn, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and arugula. Summer is the best time to experience all this delicious produce, which is either not widely available, or is more expensive during the other three seasons. One great way to enjoy summer produce is combining colorful fruit into a salad, such as this one from Food Hero. If you want to experiment with seasonal vegetables instead of fruit, Food Hero also offers a template you can use to make a colorful stir-fry.

There are many reasons to consume fruits and vegetables – both in the summer and year-round. Fruits and vegetables are not only flavorful and colorful; they are packed with nutrients vital to our health such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring chemicals in plants which contribute a variety of characteristics to that plant, such as taste, color, and smell. Registered dietitians often recommend eating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables because different colored fruits and vegetables contain different phytonutrients. Phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, phenols, carotenoids, and lutein are believed to play a role in health promotion and disease prevention, and research is underway to further examine their potential benefits. Researchers believe one of the main benefits from most phytonutrients is antioxidant activity, which helps rid the body of oxidizing agents that could cause harm. Specifically, flavonoids and Quercetin, found in food such as apples, onions, coffee, and citrus, are thought to help reduce chronic inflammation, and the anthocyanins found in berries and red wine are believed to help reduce blood pressure.

Aside from the potential health benefits associated with phytonutrients, eating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables has the added benefit of increasing the variety in ones’ diet, and it has been said that variety is the spice of life! This summer, I encourage you to take the seasonal opportunity to indulge in the large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that summer is known for because even without additional health benefits, your taste buds will thank you!

Written by Laurence Brandon III, Dietetics Student, Middle Tennessee State University

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

Sources:

Harvard Health (2019). Fill up on phytochemicals. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fill-up-on-phytochemicals

McManus, K. (2019). Phytonutrients: Paint your plate with the color of the rainbow. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/phytonutrients-paint-your-plate-with-the-colors-of-the-rainbow-2019042516501

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Daughter and Mother Living with Dementia

Do you ever forget where you’ve placed your remote, or just can’t recall the name of acquaintance? When this occurs, do you wonder if you are starting to develop dementia? It’s common to become somewhat more forgetful as you age. The question is, how you can tell whether your memory lapses are part of normal aging or are a symptom of something more serious.

If you are in your 40’s, 50’s or 60’s, you may have noticed that you might need a bit longer to remember things, get distracted more easily or struggle to multi-task as well as you once did. You may worry that these are an early sign of dementia, it is important not to worry too much. While these changes are frustrating at times, they are a part of normal aging.  

By contrast, people with dementia have a loss of memory and other mental function severe enough that it affects their ability to live independently at home, interact is social activities and at work. While some memory loss, such as recall and recognition, is the result of the aging brain, dementia is some type of injury to the brain that goes beyond normal changes. For a variety of reasons, once-healthy neurons (nerve cells) in the brain stop working, lose connections with other brain cells, and die.

Dementia can cause a significant decline in a person’s mental abilities by affecting their capacity for things like memory, thinking and reasoning.

Although people in the earliest stages of dementia often sense the something is wrong, the illness eventually deprives them of the insight necessary to understand their problems. So it’s usually up to a family member or friend to recognize the symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Association,  Know the 10 Signs brochure highlights a list of 10 signs that should not be ignored.

  1. Memory loss that is severe enough to disrupt daily life-for example, asking for information over and over again.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems, such as trouble following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure-for example, trouble driving to a familiar location.
  4. Confusion over time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, including difficulty judging distances and determining color.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing, including difficulty following or joining a conversation.
  7. Putting things in unusual places and being unable to find them again.
  8. Decreased or poor judgement-for example, giving large amounts of money to telemarketers or paying less attention to personal hygiene.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality, including becoming suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious.

If after reading this list you are worried about yourself or someone close to you, arrange for a medical evaluation. Making a diagnosis of dementia requires a thorough examination by a physician. Many forms of dementia are not reversible, but early detection provides an opportunity to minimize other medical conditions that may bring on severe dementia symptoms earlier than they might otherwise show.

If you would like to learn more about your memory, please join us at 10a.m. on Wednesdays in May for the Virtual Master of Memory. These four sessions will be offered online. Sessions will include information on memory strategies, nutrition, medications, medical conditions, and exercise for the body and mind.

Sessions are free – but registration is required. You may register here: https://go.osu.edu/masterofmemory

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension-Clark County, tutt.19@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension-Darke County, scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Sources:

Alzheimer’s Association, https://www.alz.org/

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dementia-Information-Page

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