Posts Tagged ‘cholesterol’

apple-cider-337x335I bought my first gallon of apple cider in mid-September and will continue to do so for a couple more months. No other beverage conjures up as many happy childhood memories of fall as drinking cider. I’m not an apple juice drinker, but I do love my cider!

As a rule, I tend not to drink much juice because of the sugar content. I prefer to eat whole fruits and/or veggies to get the maximum amount of health benefits. But it isn’t always easy to get the recommended number of plant foods in my daily diet. One four-ounce serving of apple cider counts as a serving of fruit.

Apple cider is usually made from a blend of different types of apples to give it a nice balance between sweet and tart. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, apples are first ground into pulp and then pressed to extract the juice. The juice quickly oxidizes, giving the cider its deep amber color. Apple cider is made in the cooler months because hot weather hastens fermentation.

Apple cider is not clarified like apple juice, so it still contains its starches and pectins. They are the ingredients that give cider its dark, cloudy color.

Below are some of the health benefits found in apple cider:


You probably eat a variety of foods to protect your organs, bones, and muscles. Plant foods contain antioxidants, which help protect your cells. Antioxidants prevent or stop cell damage caused by oxidants (because they are “anti” oxidation). Oxidants are free radicals found in the environment as well as produced in your body.


Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets high in flavonoid-containing foods, like apples, may lower your risk for cancer, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes.


If you’ve been a frequent cider drinker over the years, you probably remember that cider helps with “regularity.” The small amount of fiber in cider, in combination with the sugar alcohol sorbitol, helps promote regular bowel movements and looser stools.


Apples are an excellent source of pectin, and fortunately cider contains just as much as the whole fruit. Pectin helps absorb bad cholesterol in the body.

Where to buy?

Apple cider is found in grocery stores, farm markets, local farms that sell fruit and/or cider from their own orchards and cider mills, as well as some convenience and drug stores. Cider purchased in retail establishments will most likely be pasteurized, whereas you may potentially purchase unpasteurized cider from farms or farm markets. There is a difference in taste between the two types. If you purchase unpasteurized cider, look for the Label Warning Statement**.

WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

**A warning statement for untreated cider and/or juice products must appear on the label.


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


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









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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a cat?

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




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


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






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cinnamonMany of us today are trying to find health tips for lowering cholesterol, lowering blood sugars, reducing arthritis pain and yes boosting our memory.  Many households in North America or Europe have cinnamon in their their cupboards.

 Cinnamon is the brown bark from  the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder.

Are all Cinnamon’s the same? What is the Best?

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices and most popular spices, and has been used for a millennia both for its flavoring and medicinal qualities. The two major types of cinnamon used are Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon”. Ceylon Cinnamon is NOT the kind of cinnamon that is normally sold in the spice section at your local supermarket.  Cassia is the one seen most often.   Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, the parent compound of warfarin, a medication used to keep blood from clotting. Due to concerns about the possible effects of coumarin, in 2006, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned against consuming large amounts of cassia cinnamon.

Let’s Get to Using the Cinnamon!

Studies have shown that just ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon added to cereal, oatmeal, toast, tomato sauces or on an apple can have many health benefits. These are just a few of the many ways you can add cinnamon to your meals. You might have your own special recipes!

  • Lowers Cholesterol: Studies have shown cinnamon may significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol.
  • Reduces blood sugar levels thus improving those with Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Heart Disease: Reducing blood pressure.
  • Fights Cancer: A study released by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. Besides, the combination of calcium and fiber, Cinnamon can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, thus prevents colon cancer.
  • Tooth decay and mouth freshener:  Treat toothache and fight bad breath.
  • Brain Tonic: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Also, studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory; performance of certain tasks and increases one’s alertness and concentration.
  • Reduces Arthritis Pain: Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • Itching: Paste of honey and cinnamon is often used to treat insect bites.

Share with us how you enjoy cinnamon! Enjoy the benefits of cinnamon today!





http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215Alam Khan, MS, PHD, Mahpara Safdar, MS, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, MS, PHD, Khan Nawaz Khattak, MS and Richard A. Anderson, PHD. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes”. Diabetes Care. December 2003 vol. 26 no. 12 3215-3218. Accessed October 14th 2013.

Source: George RC, Lew J, Graves DJ. Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implications of Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer’s disease Pathogenesis. The Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. 2013.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website: “About Herbs: Cinnamon.” Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on October 13, 2012

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Trumbull County, Western Reserve, economos.2@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Liz Smith, M.S. R.D. L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

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