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A great way to celebrate Earth Day is spending time outside and connecting with nature. Time in nature offers an easy and inexpensive way to increase your happiness, improve your mood, and feel part of something larger than yourself. Studies have shown that getting outside can:

  • Improve your memory and attention: After just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20%. In workplaces designed with nature in mind, employees are more productive and take less sick time.
  • Heal: Patients in hospital rooms with a view of trees had shorter stays and less need for pain medications compared to patients with views of brick.
  • Improve psychological well-being: Joggers who exercised in a natural green setting felt less anxious, angry, or depressed than people who jogged in an urban setting.
Child running outside under flowering trees

We also know from research that children who spend time outdoors are more likely to develop positive environmental attitudes and behaviors as adults. One of the best ways you can take care of our planet is to encourage children and youth to get outside.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, has created an expansive list of activities to encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Here are just a few ideas you can try with your children or grandchildren:

  1. Maintain a birdbath, grow native plants, or build a bat house. For more ideas, read National Audubon Society’s Invitation to a Healthy Yard.
  2. Collect lightning bugs at dusk and release them at dawn.
  3. Keep a terrarium or aquarium and learn about the plants and animals you observe.
  4. Be a cloud spotter; build a backyard weather station. A young person just needs a view of the sky. Check out The Kid’s Book of Weather Forecasting for more ideas.
  5. Encourage a “green hour” every day. Give kids a daily green hour that includes time outside, unstructured play, and interaction with the natural world.
  6. Collect stones. Even the youngest children love gathering rocks, shells, and fossils. Read Rock and Fossil Hunter by Ben Morgan together.
  7. Learn about and raise butterflies. Consider purchasing a monarch rearing kit and growing milkweed so you can hatch and release your own butterflies.
  8. Hang up a bird feeder and watch birds. Have them close their eyes and just listen. For more tips, check out National Audubon Society’s Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding and Bird Sleuth Investigator from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

No matter what you do while you are outdoors, remember that simply going outside is the most important step. Despite all the positive benefits of being outdoors, according to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. On this Earth Day, make a pledge to get out more and bring some young people with you. Nurturing the next generation of our planet’s caretakers is a perfect way to celebrate!

References:

Bratman, G. N., Daily, G. C., Levy, B. J., & Gross, J. J. (2015). The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 41-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Taylor, A. & Kuo, M. (2006). Is contact with nature important for healthy child development? state of the evidence. Children and their Environments: Learning, Using and Designing Spaces. 124-140.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511521232.009

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224 (4647), 420–421. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402

Wells, N. M. & Lekies, K. S., (2006). Nature and the life course: Pathways from childhood nature experiences to adult environmentalism. Children, Youth and Environments, 16 (1), 41663.

Written by: Laura M. Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60.osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu.

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Throughout the years, plastics have made our lives easier and more convenient, goods and services cheaper. We use them and dispose of them easily. I’m in debt to King Plastic. Having type 1 diabetes, plastics basically keep me alive; my insulin pump uses disposable plastic supplies that I throw away every three days. The car I drive and some of the clothes I wear have plastic which I dispose of eventually too. My keyboard and computer is made up of plastic, of which I have to trade in periodically. I’m not sure what becomes of them. My kids have benefited from plastics- they have had probably three times as many Legos, dolls, and electronics than I had growing up. We’ve been getting rid of these too recently. My dog chews on a plastic bone. The many choices of food I have at the store are thanks to plastic packaging. Hail to King Plastic!

You may have heard that there are three giant patches of plastics floating in the Pacific Ocean. You may have noticed more litter in state and national parks or in streams, rivers, beaches and lakes. Landfills are getting larger and larger. The uncomfortable truth of our convenient throw-away culture is that plastics are everywhere and we are starting to drown in them- literally. Plastics are showing up in our foods and the air we breath. Research suggests that we consume about 5 grams a year- the equivalent of credit card’s worth of plastics! Seafood often has small amounts of plastic because of all the ocean trash that they consume. If we prepare food with plastics, it can leach into our food. We breath plastic especially if we use a clothes dryer. We don’t know all of the health implications but some studies are raising some red flags. Plastic consumption is associated with reproductive, behavioral problems in children, and a host of endocrine problems.

For the sake of our health and the environment- we should quit worshipping King Plastic so much. But how? Consider these small behavior changes to keep plastic out of your body and out of the natural environment. Most plastics aren’t recycled either- so focus on reducing or reusing plastics. Although small, they really add up over a month, year, etc. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Limit single use plastics in the kitchen such as sandwich bags, wrap, etc. Use beeswax and reusable storage containers.

Avoid heating your food or beverages up in plastic storage containers or styrofoam.

Use reusable water bottles- avoid single use bottles.

Bring your own cotton reusable bags to the grocery or recycle your plastic bags.

Use laundry tabs or soap berries instead of laundry detergent in a plastic jug or better yet make your own!

Use wool balls for static reduction instead of dryer sheets.

Install a microfiber filter on your washing machine.

Shop for reused cloths.

Check the ingredients for all body care products to see if they have polyethylene or polypropylene in them. Avoid products with these two ingredients.

Use a bar of soap instead of body wash in plastic bottles.

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

Reviewer: Susan Zies, M.Ed, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

Sources

Jill Bartolotta. The Toll of Plastics. OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Inservice. February 18,2021. Zoom recording at https://osu.zoom.us/rec/share/CHNxkTyjQcymON8oUe_WN0MQHsln1KI3AzxbHbmNIeQIuM8N2-sT0CLyl12FO06c.hN44c5jppCbXdmw1

National Public Radio. Plastics- What’s Recycled, What Becomes Trash and Why? Access on 2/26/21 at Plastics: What’s Recyclable, What Becomes Trash — And Why (npr.org)

OSU Extension. Sustainable Action Through Video Engagement. Single Use Plastics. Accessed on 2/26/21 at Sustainability in the Kitchen: Single Use Plastics – YouTube

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Last year, I transformed into a self-proclaimed bird nerd. The change started in the spring of 2020 when I started working from home because of COVID. I placed my desk next to a window and in April, I noticed a robin building a nest. Watching the robin sit on her nest for hours upon hours was fascinating and I was quickly hooked.

In May, bluebirds visited my suburban backyard for the first time and after putting up a bluebird house, we hosted the pair of bluebirds and their 3 adorable babies several weeks later. I was fascinated by the whole process, from the nesting, feeding, and successful fledging (developing wing feathers that are large enough for flight). I cheered the first day the babies flew out of their box and also experienced sadness when they left their house for good. My sorrow was quickly replaced with joy when a pair of Baltimore orioles passed through for a couple of days. I was enthralled watching the colorful birds eat the grape jelly I set out. Summer brought ruby-throated hummingbirds and warblers. This winter, I am enjoying a barred owl who lives nearby and occasionally graces me with his majestic presence.

Picture of a Barred Owl by Laura Stanton.
Barred Owl
Photo by Laura M. Stanton

Although the joy of birding happens right outside my window most days, whenever possible, I safely visit different habitats to expand the variety of birds to watch. Whether I am inside or outside, I notice so much more than just the birds. I notice positive changes happening within.

The benefits I have experienced from watching our feathered friends have been confirmed by research. Why is birding good for your health? Watching birds:

  • Is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the moment, and without judgment. Whether you are birding inside or out, you are in the “here and now” which has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and rumination, and improve attention, memory, and focus. In addition, mindfulness can reduce chronic pain.
  • Requires stealth and silence. Spending time in silence lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow, and enhances sleep. Silence can also be therapeutic for depression.
  • Encourages meditation. During meditation, you eliminate the “noise” in your mind, creating a sense of calm and peace that benefits your emotional well-being and your overall health.
  • Relies on your sense of sight and hearing. A study found that just listening to bird song contributes to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery. Click here to listen to a sample of common bird songs.
  • Prevents nature-deficit disorder, a phenomenon related to the growing disconnect between humans and the natural world. Americans, on average, spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
  • Benefits your heart. Regular exposure to nature is associated with improvements in cardiovascular disease and longevity.
  • Stimulates a sense of gratitude, which is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.

Sources
Carter, S. (2016). Nature deficit disorder. Live Smart Ohio. Retrieved from https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/carter-413osu-edu/nature-deficit-disorder   

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, NC.

Powers-Barker, P. (2016). Introduction to mindfulness. Ohioline. Retrieved from
https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5243

Stanton, L. M. (2020). Noises off: The benefits of silence. Live Smart Ohio. Retrieved from
https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/stanton-60osu-edu/noises-off-the-benefit-of-silence

Written by Laura M. Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60.osu.edu

Reviewed by Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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Probably nothing upsets parents more on a daily basis than the constant bickering and fighting that goes on between children within the family. Sibling rivalry, a common issue faced by most parents, has been around as long as there have been brothers and sisters. As upsetting as it may be, some sibling rivalry and conflict can be beneficial. It gives children their first experience in learning how to interact and get along with others. A child who has siblings is taught how to see another individual’s point of view, how to settle disputes, how to compromise and how to show affection and not hold a grudge.

Even though there is a positive side to quarrels among siblings, there are also times when parents need to intervene.  The following information can give you some guidelines about what might be an appropriate stance to take about when and how to intervene.

black-and-white-childhood-children-460032

  • Stay out of it – If there is normal bickering, minor name calling, then the parent’s role is to stay out of it, and let them settle the disagreement on their own.
  • Acknowledge anger and reflect each child’s viewpoint. – If you notice the volume going up, nasty name-calling, mild physical contact, or threats of danger.
  • Firmly stop the interaction, review rules, and help with conflict resolution. – If the potential for danger is more serious.
  • Firmly stop the children and separate them. – if it becomes a dangerous situation. One in which physical or emotional harm is about to or has occurred. If a child is hurt, attend to that child first, review the rules, and possibly impose a consequence.

One way to manage sibling rivalry between your children is to establish family rules in your home. Having rules in place is a way to communicate your family values and forces you to think in advance about what behavior is important to you and what you want to enforce. These rules need to be enforced with predictable consequences. Don’t ignore the rules or make exceptions when you feel tired. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital shares more parenting resources on handling sibling rivalry.

It is also important to remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Modeling cooperative behavior, gives your child an example of how to handle frustrations and resolve conflict. These tips can help decrease the amount of sibling quarrels in your home.   There is nothing better than harmony.

Writer: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

 

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

 

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nationalredday

February is American Heart Month sponsored by The American Heart Association. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. What may surprise a few, is that it’s the number one killer in women, claiming nearly 500,000 lives. Most people believed that it affects more men so many women did not pay much attention to the disease. National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women. Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the 1st National Wear Red Day was observed. National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February.

Since raising awareness many women have been making changes in their lives to be more heart conscience. Some of the strides they’ve made have included losing weight, increasing their exercise, making a healthy behavior change and checking cholesterol levels. Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day, and deaths in women have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years! Even though all of this progress has been made, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke each year.

 

So what can you do besides wear RED tomorrow? Know your heart healthy numbers.

  1. Risk factors you can* and cannot control
    1. High blood pressure*
    2. Diabetes*
    3. Lack of regular activity*
    4. Age
    5. Gender
    6. Heredity
  2. Know your numbers
    1. Total cholesterol
    2. HDL cholesterol
    3. Blood Pressure
    4. Blood Sugar
    5. Body Mass Index
  3. Take Action
    1. Manage blood pressure
    2. Control cholesterol
    3. Reduce blood sugar
    4. Get active
    5. Eat better
    6. Lose weight
    7. Stop smoking

If you would like to find out more information on each of the areas above, you can visit GoRedforWomen.org  On their site you can take a risk factors quiz and learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

I hope to see lots of RED tomorrow.

 

Sources:

https://www.goredforwomen.org/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/national-wear-red-day/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/know-your-risk/

https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/FebruaryToolkit.aspx

 

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

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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Stethoscope on cashIf you are lucky enough to have elderly parents, you know what a precious gift it is to have them. However, with this precious gift of time, there are some challenges that occur as they age and need your help. It is difficult when the roles of parent and child begin to shift and the children become the caregivers. One of the most complicated issues is when there is a need to take over your parents’ finances. Taking control can be awkward and complicated, but putting it off too long can make it very difficult to sort out all of their accounts and make the necessary legal steps to ensure your ability to successfully manage your parent’s money.

How do you know when it is time to step in? Watch for early signs that your parent’s cognitive ability is declining, and there is a need to step in and take control. If you wait too long, there’s a good chance that significant financial losses have occurred. Some of the signs to look for are:

  • They become forgetful about cash
  • They start getting calls from creditors
  • Their house is filled with expensive new purchases
  • They have difficulty with simple tasks like balancing their checkbook
  • Bills have been paid repeatedly or not paid at all
  • Bills that seem much higher than they should be and cannot be explained
  • Donations to charity that do not match your parents priorities

 

Raising the topic might be difficult. Older adults may be resistant to relinquishing control of their finances. They may see this as the first step of losing their independence, which is one of the top two concerns for older adults. Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families from AARP gives helpful insight on how to start the conversation. They suggest:

  1. Look for an opening: You might use an article you read about or something you saw in the news to raise the topic.
  2. Respect your loved one’s wishes: Your plan must be centered on the person receiving care.
  3. Size up the situation: Figuring out your loved one’s priorities help determine your next steps
  4. Counter resistance: Your loved one might say, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” Some people are private by nature. If your first conversation does not go well, try again.

Managing your own finances can be challenging enough, and you aren’t excited about taking on the task of managing your parents finances as well. Addressing the topic can be awkward, but if no one steps in to help, the assets that your parents spent a lifetime accumulating could be lost.

 

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County

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post-95090_1920

For many people, the cold winter months bring an onset of what is described as the winter blues.  The colder, darker winter months can cause a change in our moods and our behaviors.  Some examples are sleeping more, becoming more irritable, eating more, and avoiding friends or social situations.

Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at Yale University, offers these tips for beating the winter blues:

  • CONNECT
    • One great way to connect to others in the winter months is to volunteer, at a shelter, a food bank, a nursing home, or at an after school program.
    • Another way is to stay active.  Join a fitness class.  Invite some friends to go on a walk or meet at a gym to shoot some hoops.
  • BREATHE
    • Practice mindfulness activities, like yoga or meditation, to help center your thoughts and help you to relax.
  • SAVOR
    • Be present in whatever activity you are engaged in. Turn off the cell phones and focus on where you are and who are you are with.
    • Curl up with your loved ones (spouse, childen, grandchildren) under a warm and cozy, blanket and read a book or watch a funny movie.
    • Eat healthier meals and take time to eat at a leisurely pace.

If you find that the winter blues are interfering with your daily activities for a period longer than two weeks, please consult your family physician or a mental health professional.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that is categorized as a type of depression and occurs during months where individuals have less exposure to natural sunlight that can be treated with appropriate medical help.

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County, Ohio State Extension, dellifield.2@osu.edu

Reviewed By:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

SOURCES:

Sepalla, Emma M. PhD, “3 Definitive Ways to Beat The Winter Blues”, Psychology Today. Web January 20, 2016 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201601/3-definitive-ways-beat-winter-blues

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/mood-disorders/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.html

REFERENCES:

Roecklein, Kathryn A., Rohan, Kelly J., PhD, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview and Update”, Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Jan; 2(1): 20–26. Published online 2005 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad.aspx

“Information from Your Doctor: Seasonal Affective Disorder”, American Family Physician. 2000 Mar 1;61(5):1531-1532. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html

PHOTO CREDIT:

https://pixabay.com/en/post-light-lamp-outside-95090/

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raspberry-995344_640

Did you know that today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day?  Raspberries are abundant at this time of year.  Raspberries- like many other fruits- are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They also contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid, a potential anti-cancer agent.   They are an excellent source of soluble fiber and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Raspberries also provide a slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream.  This fruit is very low in calories, providing just 64 calories per cup serving. Raspberries also provide 8 grams of fiber and 54% of the daily need for Vitamin C.

If you are looking for raspberries on this eventful day you may be surprised to find that a variety of colors from red to black to purple to yellow are all available. Raspberries should be bright, shiny, and uniform in color. Avoid ones that are dull and appear to have surface moisture, as moisture promotes decay.  Handle this produce very gently to avoid bruising. Bruising shortens the life of the fruit and contributes to low quality. Berries are highly perishable; therefore, store fresh raspberries uncovered in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Gently rinse berries in cold water prior to use.  Never soak berries in water.  Be aware that raspberry shelf life is short so only buy what you can use. Plan to eat your berries within one to two days after purchase.

Try this quick and easy Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe:raspberry-925190_640

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker pie crust

Directions

  1. Whisk sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together in a bowl; gently fold 1 pint of raspberries.
  2. Spread filling evenly within the crust.
  3. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
  4. Top pie with remaining fresh raspberries when ready to serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229009/fresh-red-raspberry-cream-pie/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=16

 

Not enough time to make a pie today? Try these quick and easy ways to add raspberries to your National Raspberry Cream Pie Day:

  • Add fresh raspberries to hot and cold cereals
  • Top nonfat yogurt with fresh raspberries and some granola for a great breakfast, snack or dessert.
  • Combine raspberries into a fresh lettuce salad and top with a low fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Lastly, just enjoy fresh berries as a snack. They are delicious, sweet and juicy!

WRITTEN BY: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County and Marcia Jess, Program Coordinator, Wood County.

REVIEWED BY: Shawna Hite, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences

Sources:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5511

http://extension.illinois.edu/raspberries/

Click to access RaspberryFFS.pdf

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This time of year is always magical from a gardening perspective. Perennials and bulbs are blooming, greenhouses are open and neighbors are planting their annuals. Nothing brings us out of our winter blahs faster than the scent of hyacinths and lilacs or the beauty of daffodils and tulips. Did you know that flowers serve more than just an aesthetic purpose? They also can improve our overall well-being.

Lilacs

Planting or keeping flowers around the home and in the workplace greatly reduces a person’s stress levels. Natural aesthetic beauty is soothing to people, and planting ornamental flowers around the home environment is an excellent way to lower levels of stress and anxiety. People who keep flowers in and around their home feel happier, less stressed, and more relaxed. As a result of the positive energy they derive from the environment, the chances of suffering from stress-related depression are decreased as well. Overall, adding flowers to your home or work environment reduces your perceived stress levels and makes you feel more relaxed, secure, and happy. Flowers can help you achieve a more optimistic outlook on your life; bringing you both pleasing visual stimulation and an increase in your perceived happiness.

Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster can produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration. Flowers cut from the garden add a pop of color to the living areas in the home. Bringing potted plants into your work space helps improve productivity, as well as an increase in creativity and job satisfaction.

Flowers

Don’t have a green thumb, struggling with some plants, or just beginning to plant?  Want some creative tips for new projects? The National Gardening Association has tons of information to help you out.  Allow the outdoors to bring out your natural beauty. Behold the powers of flowers!

Sources:

http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.VzyCdrgrK70

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-mindfulness/200903/plants-make-you-feel-better

www.garden.org

www.onegreenplanet.org

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

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

 

 

 

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nutsThere are many people who will tell you that they have a food allergy when they might really have food sensitivity.

What is the difference?  While food allergies and food sensitivities can both leave you feeling terrible, a true food allergy can be fatal.

They may have similar symptoms – nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting, but there are differences. Food allergies affect our immune system and affect the whole body, not just your stomach. Food sensitivity occurs when your body cannot properly digest a particular food. Food allergy symptoms usually come on suddenly, a small amount of the food can trigger the reaction, it happens every time you eat the food, and it can be life threatening. On the other hand, food sensitivities usually come on gradually, it may only cause symptoms when you eat a large amount of the food and is not life threatening.

There are some general differences between allergy and sensitivity.

Food Allergy symptoms:

  • Rash, hives or itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure, trouble swallowing or breathing – this is life-threatening and you should call 911.

Food Sensitivity symptoms:

  • Gas, cramps, or bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Irritability or nervousness

There are eight common foods that cause 90% of food allergy reactions:  peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. The two most common foods that cause sensitivity are lactose in milk and gluten although we can be sensitive to a wide variety of foods including some of the ones that cause allergies!seafood

 

How can you prevent or treat food allergies or sensitivities?  It is best to visit your doctor or health practitioner if you have experienced any of the above symptoms after eating.  Your doctor can do testing but may also recommend that you keep a food diary or stop eating some foods that you suspect may be causing the problems.

If you have a true food allergy, you will have to totally avoid the food. If it is food sensitivity, you may be able to eat small amounts of the food without causing a problem.

References:

Food Allergies. Clemson Cooperative Extension. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/special_needs/hgic4158.html

Food Allergies and Sensitivities. http://food.unl.edu/allergy/allergy-sensitivity

Food Allergy, or Something Else? http://www.webmd.com/allergies/foods-allergy-intolerance?

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewed by:  Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County.

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