Foam Roll Your Way to Better Fitness

What Does It Do?

Foam rolling uses a process called “myofascial release” to stretch out tight muscles and release tension that causes an area to feel sore. The goal is to break up the tissue that connects the muscles called fascia. This long, cylindrical fitness tool is used by directly applying pressure to the target muscle area.

The Benefits

  • Increased Range of Motion: During exercise, muscles constrict and create tension, decreasing mobility. Using a roller promotes more flexible muscles, allowing them to fully reach their potential range of motion.
  • Strength and Balance: Foam rollers are not only used for stretching, but as a component of an exercise program. Yoga and Pilates utilize this tool to strengthen the core by creating instability.
  • Feeling of Relief: After exercise, muscles can feel sore and tight. Rolling out the knots relieves some of the pain created by this built-up tension.
  • Increased Circulation: Foam rolling allows more oxygen to circulate to the target muscles, assisting with recovery and performance.
  • Easy and Affordable: Foam rollers can be purchased for as cheap as $10 and are lightweight and easy to transport.

Explore exercise ideas and check out types of foam rollers to purchase for your active lifestyle.

Sources:

Frozen Fruit Cups

frozen fruit cup

Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 medium to large banana, sliced
  • 2 kiwi, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Mix strawberries with sugar in a bowl. Let mixture sit 20–30 minutes while strawberries make juice.
  2. Add banana and kiwi to strawberries.
  3. Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of six muffin cups lined with paper liners.
  4. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 20–30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 13g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 8g sugar, 1g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Visit the website for more recipes, information, and videos.

Organic Does Not Mean Chemical Free

Written by: Joe Hannan, ISU Extension and Outreach Commercial Horticulture Field Specialistrows of crops

A common misconception among consumers is that organic means “chemical free.” Regardless of the farming system, however, chemicals can be applied to a field. The difference is the type of products that can be applied.

  • Conventional Farming – Any pesticide that is approved by the EPA for a particular crop and pest can be applied.
  • Organic Farming – Only products that are naturally occurring in the environment can be applied.

EXAMPLE: Pyrethrum is an insecticide derived from mums and can be used in organic farming systems. Manufacturers have found that slightly modifying the chemical structure of pyrethrum, however, increases its effectiveness against insect pests. This modified insecticide cannot be used on organic farms but can be used on conventional farms.

The EPA ensures safety to the environment and to humans through the product label. The label provides the details for how to use a product, including the following:

  • what crops it can be used on
  • what pests it is effective against
  • the rate and the frequency it can be used

Human tolerance to pesticides is derived by research before products are released to market and regulated by the FDA. The label is designed to keep pesticide residues on consumed produce below a threshold that can harm humans. This is why there are often restrictions between product application and when a product can be harvested. It is illegal to sell a product that has not been sprayed according to a pesticide label or if pesticide residue is greater than FDA tolerances.raspberry This is true regardless of whether a product is grown organically or conventionally.

It is difficult to make generalizations about organic and conventional farming systems’ impact on the environment. For instance, an organic farmer may choose to use pyrethrum to control spotted winged drosophila in raspberries while a conventional farmer may use a modified pyrethrum-type insecticide. The organic farmer would need to spray more often than the conventional farmer but would have less impact on nontarget insects. On the other hand, the conventional farmer would make less trips through the field using less insecticide, water, and fuel. That’s just one example. In Iowa, most fruit and vegetable farmers fall somewhere in between certified organic and conventional by using best practices from both systems.

For more information, visit the following:

Move for Thought

family playing soccerSummertime is here—time for children to go outside and play! Whether being active inside on rainy days or outside on sunny days, children need 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each day. Families that are active together improve their physical as well as their emotional health.
Most days, include physical activities such as

  • walking,
  • playing outside,
  • helping with chores,
  • taking the stairs,
  • picking up toys, or
  • walking the dog.

For strength and flexibility, encourage tumbling, swinging, martial arts, rope climbing, pushups, or yoga 2–3 times a week.
For aerobic exercise, activities could include cycling, running, relay races, basketball, swimming, kickball, or soccer 3–5 times a week.

Sources: Designed to Move; Be Active (HS 4)

Buying Fresh Produce? Keep It Fresh?

Fruits and vegetables come in terrific colors and flavors. Just as their nutritional benefits differ, the way in which you store fresh produce differs too! The required storage temperature and humidity level varies depending on the type of fruit or vegetable. Avoid placing produce in a sealed plastic bag on your countertop. This slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay. Use the guides below to store your garden bounty.

fresh produceStore these at room temperature, making sure they are clean, dry, well ventilated, and away from direct sunlight:

  • Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, melons, bananas, pumpkins, and winter squash

Ripen these on the counter, then store in the refrigerator:

  • Avocado, kiwifruits, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums

Most other fresh produce keeps best stored in a clean refrigerator at 40°F or below.

  • Store fruit in a different refrigerator crisper drawer than vegetables. Fruits give off ethylene gas, which can shorten the storage life of vegetables. Some vegetables give off odors that can be absorbed by fruits and affect their quality.

Source: Amy Peterson and Alice Henneman from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Roasted Kalettes

Total time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 cup | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Kalettes (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. Combine Kalettes, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Spread in an even layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the lower third of the oven until just tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 6g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2mg
potassium, 4g protein

Source: Jan/Feb 2015 EatingWell

Announcing … a brand new vegetable!

It’s not everyKalette day a new vegetable is introduced! The newest vegetable to arrive in grocery stores is Kalettes—a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. This new vegetable looks a little like a tiny cabbage with heads that are loose and composed of frilly, green-purple leaves similar to kale (the middle vegetable in the picture). The inspiration behind Kalettes came from a desire to create a kale-type vegetable that was versatile, easy to prepare, and attractive. Crossing kale with brussels sprouts was a natural fit since they are both from the same group, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. Kalettes combine the best traits of each of its parent vegetables with a fusion of sweet and nutty flavors.

The new vegetable is the product of more than a decade of research by Tozer Seeds, a British vegetable seed house. Kalettes were created by cross-pollinating brussels sprouts and kale through traditional methods. Look for them at local grocery stores and try them in the following ways:

  • Sauté in a large pan for 5–7 minutes, covering for increased tenderness.
  • Grill whole Kalettes in a grill basket and place on medium heat for 10 minutes or until slightly charred.
  • Enjoy them as a salad. Rinse and slice Kalettes into smaller pieces and top with your favorite dressing.

Find more information and recipes for Kalettes online.

Your Brain on Exercise?

ThinkstockPhotos-122413055Exercise can boost brain health! A recent study by researchers at UC Davis Health System shows people who exercise have better mental fitness. Vigorous exercise increases the level of two brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. These chemicals help defend against depression.

Richard Maddox, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, states, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”

Although results are preliminary, rigorous exercise may now become an important part of treating major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses because it naturally increases the level of these two chemicals. Maddox, the study’s lead author, calls the findings “very encouraging.”

Source: www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/10798

Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

ThinkstockPhotos-479870372 cleaning stove kitchenShake off winter by doing some spring cleaning. It is a great time to target harmful bacteria that can hang out on kitchen surfaces and even in your refrigerator. You can’t see bacteria, but they are everywhere! They especially like moist environments. A clean and dry kitchen protects you and your family from foodborne illness.

  • Always clean surfaces with hot, soapy water. After thoroughly washing surfaces with hot, soapy water, sanitize them with a disinfectant kitchen spray or diluted chlorine bleach solution (1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart of water). Let the solution stand on the surface for a few minutes, then blot dry with clean paper towels.
  • Disinfect dishcloths often. Launder dishcloths and towels frequently using the hot water cycle of the washing machine. Then be sure they are thoroughly dry.
    Rid your refrigerator of spills, bacteria, mold, and mildew. Clean your fridge weekly to kill germs that could contaminate foods. Clean interior surfaces with hot, soapy water. Rinse well with a damp cloth; dry with a clean cloth. Some manufacturers recommend not using chlorine bleach because it can damage seals, gaskets, and linings.
  • Clean your kitchen sink drain and disposal. Pour a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain once or twice per week. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal, creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Sources: www.fightbac.org and www.foodsafety.gov

Summer Bounty Salad

SummerBountySaladServing Size: 1 Cup | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups vegetables (chopped) (carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower)
  • 1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes (red, yellow, or mixed)
  • 2/3 cup light or fat free salad dressing

Instructions:

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables. (Cut the carrots, zucchini, radishes, green onions, and pepper in slices. Make the broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Slice or chop tomatoes.)
  2. Combine all vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl, stirring to coat vegetables with dressing.
  3. Cover and refrigerate 1–3 hours to blend flavors. Store any leftovers in refrigerator and use within 3 days.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 10g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 2g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.