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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Living’

Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take! Pollination is important for plant reproduction and food production.

The following examples are “fruit” of the plant, even if we might call them produce, vegetables or nuts: apples, cucumbers, zucchini, almonds, and strawberries. All of those foods grow on the plant as the result of the pollination of the flowers. Even though cucumbers and zucchini are categorized as vegetables in the cookbook, botanically, they are the “fruit” of the plant because they have the seeds. They rely on a pollinator to transfer pollen from one flower to another.

Other plants that rely on pollinators include: apricots, avocados, bananas, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, coconut, cranberries, eggplant, figs, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangos, melons, okra, onions, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, peppers, plums, pumpkin, raspberries, squash, tangerines, tomatoes, and turnips. In addition to herbs, spices, sesame seeds, sugar cane, sunflower oil, and vanilla, other favorites that rely on pollinators include coffee and chocolate.

The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. One way they do this is to promote Pollinator Week, June 21-27, 2021, #PollinatorWeek.

This week I plan to:

  1. Learn about bees and other pollinators. More than honeybees! While honeybees might be a favorite because they pollinate and provide honey, there are over 4,000 types of bees in the United States. In Ohio, there around 500 bee species. More than bees!  While bees need our support, they are not the only insect that pollinates. In Ohio, pollinators are primarily insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, and others. In addition, hummingbirds are pollinators. Certain bats are also pollinators, especially in tropical and desert areas, but none act as pollinators in Ohio.
  2. Invite pollinators of all stages to my yard. In addition to food, pollinators also need water and shelter. There are great resources on the different types of plants to help feed pollinators at different life stages. One example is to grow plants like milkweed, fennel, and dill to feed caterpillars, which eventually grow into monarch and swallowtail butterflies. Offer water in a shallow bowl or birdbath for any small pollinators.  Place a few larger rocks or sticks in the small container to provide a place for insects to land and perch.    
  3. Help others overcome their fear of “bugs”.  Not everyone loves insects, even though these small pollinators offer so much! Pollinators will not hurt you if you leave them alone. We need them to do their jobs to help us have delicious foods! PBS has a nice lesson for parents to help children overcome their fear of bugs.
  4. Appreciate my summer meals. I will slow down to appreciate and enjoy all the food that is on my plate, thanks to the work of pollinators.

How will you celebrate National Pollinator Week?

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Reviewed by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Sources:

Bee Lab. (n.d.) Ohio State University. https://u.osu.edu/beelab/

Ellsworth, D. (2015)., Attracting pollinators to the garden. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-47

McGinnis, E., Walton, N,. Elsner, E., and Knodel, J. (2018). Smart Gardening: Pollination in vegetable gardens and backyard fruit. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart-gardening-pollination-in-vegetable-gardens-and-backyard-fruit

Nankin, F., and McMahon, J. (2017). Overcome a fear of bugs. Public Broadcasting Service. https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/helping-children-overcome-a-fear-of-bugs

Planting for Pollinators. (2020). Kids Gardening. https://kidsgardening.org/planting-for-pollinators/

Pollinator Partnership. (2021). Pollinator Week. https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week/pollinator-week-resources

Prajzner, S., and Gardiner, M. (2015). Ohio Bee Identification Guide. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-57

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When I was little my grandmother loved everything about Hawaii and had the opportunity to travel there several times. She always wanted my sister and I to take a hula dance classes, but when you are a teenager, you don’t always want to do what your family asks of you. Fast forward 20+ years and my sister and I are making granny’s dream come true and will perform this week in our first hula dance review!

I initially thought, “I am too old for this! Who in their 40’s takes up hula dance classes?” The answer is: Anyone can take up hula dancing at any age! Hula is more than movement, it is story telling. With over 300 forms of hula, each has its own unique vocabulary of motion. A professionally trained hula dancer can recognize the lineage from teacher to teacher just by these movements.  There are two overarching umbrellas in hula dancing hula kahiko, is the traditional style of hula dance, and hula auana, which was popularized by the influx of tourists to the Hawaiian Islands and is a more modern style.

Hula is a great form of exercise. From beginners to advanced dancers, the slow, precise, focused movements help with coordination and muscle awareness, like yoga. It can also have a positive impact on hypertension and is a heart healthy exercise. One study found that 3 months after participants completed a 12-week hula class, participants’ systolic blood pressure had fallen by an average of 18.3 points—twice as much as those who did not participate in the class. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities completed a 5-year research evaluating the impact of hula, as an exercise method for cardiac rehabilitation. The findings indicated improvements with breathing, endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility, due to coordinating the music and the chanting. Furthermore, participants reported improvements in memory, cultural insight, concentration, mental stimulation and just “feeling better overall” (Maskarinec, et al. 2017).

Learning about the health benefits is encouraging, but honestly, hula (or any style of dance) helps improve quality of life. Dancing is therapeutic and is a mentally healing experience for me. It is an avenue to socialize with women of all ages, express my emotions, and a way to spend quality time with my sister. And to my granny, “Sorry it took me so long to make this dream come true. You were right, I love it!”

So, who is too old to take dance lessons? Not me and not you! I encourage you to go out and try! Who knows? You might just love it too!

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Sources:

Essoyan, S. (2013). Hula helps heart, soul, isle study discovers. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. https://www2.jabsom.hawaii.edu/native/docs/news/Hula_helps_heart_soul_isle_study_discovers_StarAdvertiser_8-2-13.pdf

Kaholokula, J., Look, M., Mabellos, T., Zhang, G., de Silva, M., Yoshimura, S., Solatorio, C., Wills, T., Seto, T., and Sinclair, K. (2017). Cultural dance program improves hypertension management for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: A pilot randomized trial. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 4(1), 35–46. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0198-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5283501/

National Institute on Health. (2019, September 10). Hula for Heart Health: Using Traditional Dance to Lower Blood Pressure. https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/news-events/features/clinical-health-services/hula.html

Maskarinec, G. Look, M., Tolentino, K., Trask-Batti, M., Seto, T., de Silva, M., & Kaholokua, J. (2014, March 27) . Patient Perspectives on the Hula Empowering Lifestyle Adaptation Study: Benefits of Dancing Hula for Cardiac Rehabilitation.  Health Promotion Practice, 16(1).  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177511/

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Beach clean-ups can be exciting events with a large turnout where volunteers remove lots of waste. Sometimes there are bulky items; car tires, shopping carts, or shoes that people have left behind. I attended a clean-up recently and I am proud to report that there was little litter. My fellow Ohioans are removing the waste they bring with them. Since there were no big messes to clean up, we were able to spend more time on smaller things.

We spent two hours picking through the natural debris for small pieces of plastic. There were bottle caps, sandwich bags, and broken pieces of foam. For many of the plastic pieces, the source was unidentifiable. Trash found in and around our Great Lakes is called marine debris.

Plastic is the most common type of marine debris found in the ocean and our Great Lakes. Lake Erie breaks plastic down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics.  Microplastics are plastic pieces less than five millimeters long. The smaller the plastics, the harder they are to clean up and remove from the environment.

Plastic marine debris can have negative impacts on our bodies and those of other living organisms. Animals can mistake plastics for food. The smallest animal on our planet, zooplankton, has been shown to ingest microplastics. We also eat, drink, and breathe microplastics every day. 

One study found that microplastics were in 90% of table salts. Another study estimates that we consume a credit card worth of plastic each week. We do not yet know all the harmful effects of consuming plastic, but scientists say that it likely exposes us to harmful chemicals.

We can make an impact by seeking opportunities to reduce or cut plastics products from our lives. When eliminating is not possible, be sure to dispose of items properly and in ways that reduce the risk of entering our environments. Lakes in Ohio are some of the best resources we have available. Our individual choices can help keep our Great Lake and our bodies healthy!


Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Cuyahoga County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County

References

Bartolotta, J. F. (2018, March 18). Plastic is Fantastic… Or So We Thought. Ohio Sea Grant College Program. https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/products/twn25/plastic-is-fantasic-or-so-we-thought.

Loria, K. (2019, August 13). How to Eat Less Plastic. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/health-wellness/how-to-eat-less-plastic-microplastics-in-food-water/.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2008, November 14). What is marine debris? NOAA’s National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/marinedebris.html.

NOAA. What are microplastics? National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html, 04/13/16.

Parker, L. (2021, May 3). Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt: potential health impacts? Environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/microplastics-found-90-percent-table-salt-sea-salt.

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People eating breakfast

I have a routine that I begin each day with that includes brushing my teeth, working out, showering, getting dressed, fixing breakfast then heading out the door to go to work or teleworking from home. We all have actions that get our day started no matter what time it begins. Routines can lead to habits which can be positive or negative depending on the choices we make. Because routines are habitual, we don’t often evaluate whether they are positive or negative.

Do you usually grab a granola or protein bar in the morning? Or do you find yourself buying a pastry or sandwich when you stop for coffee or gas? Maybe you have a habit of sitting down to eat breakfast. Or maybe you don’t typically eat breakfast at all!

Take a moment today to think about the breakfast choices that start your day. Consider taking a break from your breakfast routine and try something different for a week or two.

Need ideas?

  • Make breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos at home. You can prep them ahead of time by scrambling eggs, adding in your favorite veggies, and refrigerating them overnight or until ready to eat. In the morning, just heat the eggs in the microwave and place into a tortilla for a breakfast wrap along with other toppings like cheese or salsa. 
  • Add fruit to your favorite morning drink or breakfast bar. Grab a fresh orange, apple or banana; a cup of applesauce or canned, diced fruit; or serve yourself a bowl of sliced berries or melon.
  • Try a new recipe such as Banana and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, Granola and Yogurt Parfaits, or No Bake Breakfast Cookies

For more ideas, view these OSU Extension videos on Food Prep for Breakfast and Breakfast Made Easy.

What you eat can set the tone for the day. Eating breakfast will help you perform better throughout the day by helping with concentration, problem solving and even eye-hand coordination. In addition, eating breakfast can raise your energy level, mood and overall health! Those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day compared to those who skip breakfast.

Writer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Pike County

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

Sources:

Ellis, E. (2020). 5 Reasons your teen needs breakfast. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-reasons-your-teen-needs-breakfast

OSU Wexner Medical Center (2017). Improve your mood everyday: Just Eat Breakfast. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/improve-your-mood-just-eat-breakfast

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Asthma is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. If left uncontrolled, it may have serious consequences. No one likes wheezing, coughing, or feeling short of breath.  Taking control of your asthma can lead to an active healthy life. Create an action plan to live your best life.  Start today by:

  • Identifying your asthma triggers. Work with your healthcare provider to identify and minimize exposure to these triggers. Triggers include allergens, irritants or conditions that cause symptoms to worsen.  Being able to identify and avoid your triggers is important.
  • Learning to use your inhaler properly.  Follow the directions.  Shake the inhaler well. Check with your health care provider if you have any questions. 
  • Go smoke free.  If you smoke, quit.  Ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.  Ask family members to quit smoking, too.  Do not allow smoking in your home or car.
  • Enjoying a physically active lifestyle.  Work with your health care provider to develop an exercise plan. This plan will help you manage your symptoms so you can stay safe while exercising.
  • Taking medication as prescribed.  Medication is an effective way to control asthma symptoms.  Remember to take your medications as prescribed and carry your inhaler with you every day.
  • Eating healthy.  A well-balanced diet helps keep the mind and body strong.  Choosing the right foods supports your immune system and overall health, including your lung health.
  • Communicating with your healthcare team.  Learn as much as you can about your asthma.  If you experience short- or long-term side effects, let them know.  Do not suffer in silence.
  • Managing your stress. Stress can be an asthma trigger.  Implement stress-reduction strategies such as breathing exercise and mediation.
  • Monitoring your emotional health.  People with asthma are more likely to develop anxiety and depression.  If you begin to feel sad, anxious or depressed, talk with your doctor.

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 Lung Association (2020). What is Asthma? https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/learn-about-asthma/what-is-asthma

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Asthma. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.html

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"Fake news" on wooden game tiles.

Misinformation, disinformation, fake news…. All these terms, in general, describe the same thing: information that is out of context, missing details, lacking reputable sources, or is just plain false. We hear about misinformation within the context of world or political news a lot, but misleading information can appear elsewhere. Misleading and incorrect information shared about health and wellness and can lead to health decisions that could put you at risk. If something seems suspicious, it might be worth a fact check!

Mediawise, a branch of the fact-checking site Poynter suggests these three questions when looking to discover if something is factual or missing the mark.

  1. Who published the information?
    • By answering this question, you may uncover a potential bias by the author or agency. For example, a company selling a weight loss supplement may not be the best place to learn about a new “miracle” vitamin that the company is selling. A good place to begin this step of the fact-check is to look at who is sharing the information and how they will benefit from such a claim.
  2. What is the evidence?
    • Looking more into the evidence behind the claim can shed light on information that supports or discounts the claim. This article claims, “Teenager left ‘blind’ from diet of Pringles, chips and bread”.  When reading this headline alone, it is easy to be skeptical of the information presented. Looking at the evidence, it is a BBC article and they are a reputable news source without a bias for reporting the story. They interview experts familiar to the case in question and share the science behind what happened. The article also cites a case study from a reputable medical journal that shows further evidence to support the headline’s claim.
  3. What do other sources say?
    • A search of keywords in the suspicious article is a good way to find out what other sources say about the topic. When investigating a “miracle” vitamin or fact checking another claim, look for trustworthy, evidence-based sources. Depending on the topic, a reputable fact checking site may have already done the work for you!

Doing a fact-check only takes a few moments, it can help you make evidence-based decisions. A fact check might just prevent you from sharing misleading or false information on your social media feed.


Author: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County         


Sources:

Roberts, M. BBC. (2019). Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49551337

WBUR. (2020). ‘Everything’s Worth A Fact-Check’: Network Teaches Teens To Debunk Online Myths. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/08/11/mediawise-teen-fact-checking-network

World Health Organization (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters.  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#pepper

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is not part of the normal aging process. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that begins with mild memory loss and can later affect one’s ability to carry out activities of daily living.  On a personal note, my Mom – an Alzheimer’s patient – no longer recalls who I am and struggles with most daily activities.   Alzheimer’s caught up with us in November 2011.  After she received her diagnosis, we developed an action plan to direct her care with a goal for her to live well with Alzheimer’s.  

When seeking to take control of your health and wellness after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it may be helpful to focus your energy on the aspects of your life that are most meaningful.  Recognize that there will be good days and bad days, and an emphasis on living a healthier life will help prepare you to center your energies on what is most important to you.  Start today by:

  • Managing your physical health
    • Get regular checkups
    • Establish a relationship with a physician you trust
    • Get plenty or rest
  • Taking charge of your emotional health
    • Allow yourself to experience a range of emotions
    • Consider meeting with a trusted friend
    • Maintain close relationships with loved ones
    • If experiencing rapid mood changes or a short temper, be mindful of negative responses and understand your reaction is caused by the disease
    • If today is not going well, do not force it.  Stop. Do something you enjoy.
  • Increasing mental stimulation
    • Take a class
    • Try a new hobby
  • Educating yourself about the disease    
    • Plan for the future

Examine the influences that impact your experience living with Alzheimer’s.  Choosing to live a healthy life by maintaining your physical, social, and emotional well-being will help improve your daily life.

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:

https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

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Today we are reminded of the importance of a healthy immune system.  Our body’s ability to fight infection and disease depends on our immune system.  Good nutrition is important to support a healthy immune system.  Eat well by choosing nutrient rich foods, such as the following to boost your immune system:

  • Choose more orange and brightly colored foods. like carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, mango, tomatoes, and broccoli. These foods contain the antioxidant Beta Carotene which has been shown to strengthen the body’s infection fighting methods.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C including citrus, red peppers, kiwi, broccoli, berries and tomatoes. Start the day with a grapefruit, add sliced peppers to a sandwich at lunch and enjoy a cup of berries for a snack.
  • Herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. These herbs and spices contain ingredients that help fight off viruses and harmful bacteria and give your immune system a boost. Try garlic hummus or raw ginger tea, or add oregano and rosemary to salads, roasted vegetables, and tuna salad to increase your intake of herbs and spices.
  • Get your Vitamin D. Found in fatty fish, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk and fortified orange juice. Vitamin D is essential for optimal immune function and has been shown to help address respiratory infections. Add mushrooms to salads, stir fry’s and soups to increase your Vitamin D intake.
  • Zinc is key to optimal immune function but intake tends to be lower in those who are older, vegetarians, vegans and those who take antacids. Foods containing zinc such asmeat, seafood, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Probiotics  is good bacteria that promotes health.  It is found in cultured dairy products like yogurt and in fermented foods such as kimchi.
  • Protein from both animal and plant-based sources including, milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.

In addition to increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, you can protect your immune system by:

  • Minimize your intake of sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Consumption of these foods may suppressthe immune system.
  • Practicing good hygiene and hand washing to help prevent the spread of germs. Remember to wash produce before eating or using in recipes. Clean glasses, dishes, forks, spoons, and knives to reduce the spread and growth of bacteria.
  • Manage stress. Physical activity, meditation, listening to music and writing are great ways to manage stress and help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that could weaken your immune system.
  • Getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to a variety of health concerns including a weakened immune system. Seven to nine hours is recommended each day for adults and children need eight to fourteen hours depending on their age.

Take charge today of your health and add these tips daily to support a healthy immune system!

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:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2020). Support your health with nutrition. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/support-your-health-with-nutrition

WebMD (2019). How can my diet affect my immune system? https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/how-can-my-diet-affect-my-immune-system

WebMD (2019). Super Foods for Optimal Health. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health

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We have all been impacted one way or another by the Coronavirus pandemic. During a health crisis, taking preventative measures is important. The CDC has listed precautions people should be taking right now. These include washing your hands, staying away from people who may be sick, and protecting your nose and mouth with an appropriate mask. Another way to protect yourself from sickness is keeping your immune system strong, which is your body’s defense against illnesses.

The Cleveland Clinic notes 3 vitamins to boost your immune system:

Vitamin C: found in many fruits especially melons, berries, and citrus, bell peppers, and dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, anFresh Vegetablesd spinach.

Vitamin B6: found in chickpeas, green vegetables, chicken, and fish.

Vitamin E: found in spinach, seeds, and nuts.

Additionally, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states these nutrients listed will also help boost your immune system:

Vitamin D: found in fortified milk and juice, eggs, and fatty fish.

Zinc: found both in animal and plant sources such as meat, beans, tofu, and nuts,

Beta carotene: found in plant foods such a potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and mangos.

Probiotics: found in cultured dairy and fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.

Protein: both animal and plant-based sources, such as nuts, eggs, meat, beans, and fish.

Eating healthily during a pandemic can be tough but having long-lasting food on-hand is a great way to ensure you and your family are fed when practicing social distancing. There are also ways to focus on consuming the food listed above to keep those immune systems in tip-top shape. Before you stock up on all the frozen and non-perishable foods you can find, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Frozen meals: Be sure those frozen meals include some of the foods listed above, for example fruits and vegetables.

Pasta: Add some razzle dazzle to pre-packaged pasta meals such by adding vegetables to the dish or pair it with your favorites on the side. You can also try this stir fry recipe that includes meat and vegetables with packaged ramen noodles for a yummy twist.

Canned goods: great way to add some fruits, vegetables, and beans to any meal. And make sure your canned soup has vegetables in it for extra nutrients, and always look for the no-salt added version.

Smoothies: Make a smoothie with your favorite frozen fruit and be sure to use a little yogurt and orange juice for some added nutrients.

Snacks: Snacking is inevitable! Snack on things such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, hummus, raw veggies, and more!

Below are two family fun snack and meal recipes that are sure to give you those nutrients that could give your immune system that extra boost!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Fruit and Veggie Snacks

All in all, you eat your way to a stronger immune system. Note that supplements are not recommended unless necessary. And always consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian first. We will get through this uncertain time together!

About the author: Carmen Bell is a senior Nutrition and Food Science-Dietetics student with a Health and Human Performance minor at Middle Tennessee State University. She is a part of the MT Nutrition Team where she works to provide nutrition education to children, students, faculty, and staff on campus. Beginning summer 2020, she will be an Iowa State University Dietetic Intern and upon completion of the program will continue her process of becoming a registered dietitian. In the future, she will obtain her master’s degree in Leadership in Nutrition and wants to work will all ages on their health.

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

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Monday I shared that to celebrate my 40th birthday my friends and I joined forces to fill our local communities with random acts of kindness.  We spread our kindness amongst 20 states and 5 countries and we all learned many lessons along the way.

Small Acts Big Changes

One part I enjoyed about this project was the variety of acts that were done. Some acts influenced many people such as a donation to a food bank. Other acts were smaller yet still inspiring.  A simple act can have a large impact on a person when done at the right time with the right intentions. One act of small kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. Any act of kindness can be contagious and inspire others to pass on another kind act. It is hard to measure the impact of one simple act, so never think an act is too simple or small to spend time on.

One of the kindest acts someone ever did for me was to show up at my house with a plate of cookies as I was going through a tough time. She set those cookies on my counter, sat on the floor and played with my eight-month-old baby. She might not remember that day, but I will never forget it.  A plate of cookies and a half-hour of time, something I remember more than ten years later.

Missed Opportunities

 Often I find myself second-guessing a kind idea or intention I have. I will overthink something so long that an opportunity passes me by and I promptly switch to beating myself up for missing an opportunity. I was so inspired by my friends and what they were accomplishing that acting on a kind deed became easier for me to do. It became more second nature and I was more confident offering to help someone or pass on a compliment.

More Gratitude

Kindness promotes gratitude. Being kind to others encourages one to consider what is positive in their own life. As we went through forty days I noticed this happening in our group. We started posting about how others were being kind to us and the deeds that made our days a little better. Some of these acts happen so frequently or regularly we forget to show gratitude for them. For example, I noticed the bus drivers who get my children to school safely every day, the mailwoman who reliably delivers my mail, the people at the gym whose positivity make working out fun, and drivers on the road who let me over or wave me on at a stop sign.

According to Psychology Today, Kindness means a behavioral response of compassion and actions that are selfless; or a mindset that places compassion for others before one’s interests. In performing the selfless act, a person may undercut their selfish interests. This process can lead to more gratitude.

 Did we change the world? No. This reminds me of the song lyric; I can’t change the world but I can change yours. I don’t know if we permanently changed anyone’s world. I like to think we lightened a few loads, and added some extra smiles to our communities and that is enough. It is enough because it changed us.

When you can, hold the door, let someone over on the freeway, smile at a stranger. Do what you can where you can to make your corner of the world a little kinder- it is enough!

Sources:

I Can’t Change the World, but I Can Change Yours. (2019, November 4). Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/11/04/i-cant-change-the-world-but-i-can-change-yours/.

Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

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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