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Posts Tagged ‘Disease Prevention’

As we head into spring many of the wonderful green vegetables come into season and are readily available. These green powerhouse foods are the foods most strongly associated with reducing chronic disease risk and are described as green leafy and cruciferous. Plants produce phytochemicals like antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, flavones, and isoflavones. Green plants specifically produce the phytochemical lutein which has been shown to benefit eye health, cancer prevention, and heart health. Included in this food group are: kabr sproutsle, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuces, artichokes, and collard greens. The phytochemical beta carotene is not only found in dark orange foods, it is also found in the rich green founds of spinach, collard greens, kale, and broccoli. As we have often heard, beta carotene benefits the immune system, vision, and skin and bone health.

Cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, collards, and watercress are members of the “Cruciferae or Brassicaceae Family”. Plants in the Cruciferae family have flowers with four equal-sized petals in the shape of a cross. Many of these cruciferous vegetables are found to be “cancer fighting machines”, according to Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Studies show they lower the rates of prostate cancer and may even stop the growth of cancer cells in the lung, colon, liver, and breast.

Another reason to fill up on colorful vegetables is they may help you to age well. Foods rich in antioxidants (like leeks, lettuce and kale) can help fight free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that contribute to the aging process.

Many of the power house green vegetables will soon be available in farmers markets but if you would like to start your own in a container garden follow these links to resources to get you started. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1647.html or http://urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening/herbveggie.cfm.

Try planting: spinach, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage, peppers, herbs, or cucumbers to start your own patch of power house green foods. container garden

Writers: Lisa Barlage and Michelle Treber, Extension Educators, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, SNAP- Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Photos by: Michelle Treber and Lisa Barlage.

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Did you brush your teeth this morning?  Did you floss? brushing teeth

Most of us know we need to brush and floss, but we get in a rush. So, why is brushing our teeth so important.  We all know that brushing our teeth can prevent tooth decay.  What about other diseases?

Having good oral health can help prevent or lessen the chance of these diseases or problems:

  • Cardiovascular Disease – Gum disease (periodontitis) from oral bacteria may be a link to heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke according to some research.
  • Endocarditis – Gum disease may cause this infection to the inner lining of the heart
  • Premature birth and low birth weight has been linked to gum disease.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Losing teeth before age 35 puts you at risk.
  • Osteoporosis may be associated with tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.
  • Having Diabetes increases your risk of gum disease.

So, we all need to work into our schedules brushing our teeth at least twice a day. Try to make one of those times be before you go to bed.  Use good technique taking time to do a thorough job.  (See tips below.)  You can use an electric/battery or manual toothbrush, whatever works best for you.  Foods that are acidic or contain sugar or starch can produce acids in your mouth that can harm tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more.  After consuming these foods avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes.

Floss your teeth at least once a day, as flossing helps decrease your risk of having gum disease and tooth decay.  Use whatever kind of floss or flossing tool works best for you.

Did you know your toothbrush could make you sick?  Here are a few tips to help you prevent that:

  • Wash your hands.  Be sure to wash your hands before and after to avoid spreading germs into your mouth and to others after brushing. toothbrush
  • Use a new toothbrush very four months.  Toothbrushes can wear out.  Replace your toothbrush after an illness..
  • After brushing rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright allowing it to air-dry. Don’t cover it until completely dry.  Store your toothbrush so that it doesn’t touch other toothbrushes.   Airborne bacteria grow well in the warm, moist environment like a bathroom.
  • Don’t share your toothbrush with others.  .
  • It is not necessary to sanitize your toothbrush using a mouthwash, sanitizer, dishwasher or microwave oven.
  • When someone is sick have them use a different  tube of  toothpaste, such as a travel size.  Sharing tubes of toothpaste can result in cross-contamination of germs.

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

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

References:

Delta Dental, [2012]. Can Your Toothbrush Make You Sick,  Downloaded from http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/toothbrush.html on February 19, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Electric Toothbrush:  Better than a Manual Toothbrush?  Answered by Alan Carr, D.M.D.,  Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/electric-toothbrush/AN01705   on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Oral health:  A Window to Your Overall Health, Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001 on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011].  Oral Health:  Brush up on Dental Care Basics, Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00003  on February 18, 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2010].  When to brush Your Teeth, Answered by Alan Carr, D.M.D., Downloaded from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brushing-your-teeth/AN02098 on February 18, 2013

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