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Get Moving in Your Community

young kids bike summer active fitnessStudies show that individuals are more physically active if the environment provides them with opportunities to do so. Examine your neighborhood, workplace, or school to identify ways to make your surroundings more inviting for walking or exercise. Here are four ideas to consider:

  • Start a walking group in your neighborhood or at your workplace.
  • Make the streets safe for exercise by driving the speed limit and yielding to people who walk, run, or bike.
  • Participate in local planning efforts to develop a walking or bike path in your community.
  • Share your ideas for improvement with your neighbors or local leaders.

Source: Opportunities Abound for Moving Around, May 2015, newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/May2015/Feature1

Recipe for Safe Food

couple cooking in kitchen mealsMost recipes do not include proper food safety precautions.The online Recipe Tool automatically adds the critical food safety steps into favorite recipes or those found online. The tool was developed by the USDA, in partnership with the FDA and the CDC, as a reminder to keep food safe.
To use the Recipe Tool:
  1. Access the link at www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/recipetool/.
  2. Type your favoriterecipes into the boxesor insert the recipeURL from a popularcooking website intothe tool to get foodhandling reminders.Food handling remindersinclude clean, separate,cook, and chill.

Source: FoodSafety.gov, Keep Food Safe Blog, www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2014/07/recipes-just-got-safe-our-new-online-tool.html

Are You Sitting Too Much?

Most adults spend half their waking day sitting behind a desk, in front of a computer or TV, or riding in a car. Sitting is linked to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Research shows a 14 percent higher risk of these chronic diseases among those who sit for eight or more hours daily. Everyone who engages in prolonged sitting can be at risk, even those who are physically active each day. Prolonged sitting is a lifestyle risk factor that can be addressed by changing lifestyle habits. See the list below for ways to get more activity into your day.

Source: American College of Cardiology; Study Bolsters Link between Heart Disease, Excessive Sitting; March 2015

3 Ways to Move More:

1. Sit less. Notice the time you spend sitting and break up long stretches with movement. Pace while talking on the phone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk during lunch.

2. Engage in aerobic exercise about 30 minutes each day. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (activity that causes your heart rate to increase).

3. Do resistance training at least two days a week. This type of exercise challenges major muscle groups to near exhaustion in 8–12 repetitions.
Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new physical activity routines.

Walk Your Way to Fitness

This publication includes a sample walking program, a “talk test,” and tips on comfortable clothing.

Download at: store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/PM1929/

Quick Fruit Dessert

fruit dessertServing Size: 1/2 cup | Serves: 8

Ingredients:
8 vanilla wafers
2 cups low fat or nonfat milk
1 box (3.5 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup fresh fruit (peaches, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc.)

Instructions:
1. Place one vanilla wafer on bottom of a small paper or plastic cup or a small bowl. Do the same for each vanilla wafer.
2. Pour milk into a bowl, add pudding mix, and prepare pudding according to the directions on the box.
3. Top each vanilla wafer with 1/4 cup vanilla pudding.
4. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 8 hours.
5. Top with washed and cut up fresh fruit just before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 220mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 17g sugar, 2g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website, www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings

Orthorexia: An Obsession with Eating Pure

When obesity is a national emergency, a serious dedication to a healthy diet hardly seems like a bad thing. But, for some, a fixation on healthy eating develops into an obsession. If someone refuses to eat food that is not “pure,” starts skipping family meals or dinners out, rejects food they once loved, or can’t bring themselves to eat a meal they haven’t prepared with their own hands, they may be suffering from an emerging disordered eating pattern called orthorexia.

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia — an unhealthy fixation on eating only healthy or “pure” foods — was originally defined as a disordered eating behavior in the ‘90s, but experts believe it has been gaining steam in recent years, fed by the number of foods marketed as healthy and organic, and by the media’s often conflicting dietary advice. Like anorexia nervosa, orthorexia is a disorder rooted in food restriction. Unlike anorexia, for othorexics, the quality instead of the quantity of food is severely restricted.

If someone is orthorexic, they typically avoid anything processed like white flour or sugar. A food is virtually untouchable unless it’s certified organic or a whole food. Even something like whole-grain bread — which is a very healthy, high-fiber food — is off limits because it’s been processed in some way.

Orthorexics typically don’t fear being fat in the way that an anorexic would, but the obsessive and progressive nature of the disorder is similar.

Orthorexics may eliminate entire groups of food — such as dairy or grains — from their diets, later eliminating another group of food, and another, all in the quest for a “perfect” clean, healthy diet. In severe cases, orthorexia eventually leads to malnourishment when critical nutrients are eliminated from the diet.

Orthorexics often have misunderstandings about food or nutrition. People with eating disorders know a lot about food and food science, but they don’t always have accurate information. Sometimes their sources are magazines and blogs that might not be reputable.

For more information about eating disorders, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, www.anad.org

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org

Fitness for People with Disabilities

Everyone age 2 years and older should be physically active. However, sometimes our activity is restricted by physical limitations. The key is to focus on what you can do.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that if a disability is limiting your ability to achieve 150 minutes of weekly activity, take part in any regular physical activity as you are able. It’s important to avoid inactivity.

There are many ways to be physically active, so finding an activity you enjoy even with a disability is possible.

Water sports offer a weightless, low-impact option for those with knee, back, or foot problems. Examples include swimming laps, water aerobics, water jogging, or water walking.

Use alternative machines that mimic sports but remove the physical barrier. For example, if you love riding a bike but can’t due to paralysis or a leg injury, try a hand cycle. For runners with leg, hip, feet, or back issues, try a weightless treadmill. Local physical therapy offices or hospitals may have these machines available for use.

Chair exercises are another great option if you have difficulty standing. The National Institute on Aging has a free chair exercise DVD you can order
(go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercise-dvd) or try this free online 5-5-5 Chair Workout video (www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/2887/5-5-5-chair-workout/).

Always consult your health care provider before beginning any physical activity routines.

Source: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/pa.html

Eggs and Poultry: Safe to Eat

brown eggsAvian influenza has been in the news recently as it spreads throughout poultry flocks in Iowa. Avian influenza does not impact the foods eaten by consumers and cannot be contracted from properly cooked and prepared meats by consumers. The disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, and geese, and it is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese, and shorebirds. It’s possible that humans could be infected with the virus only if they were in very close contact with sick birds.

Following safe food handling and cooking practices for poultry foods will keep
you safe.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw eggs and poultry.
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.
  • Sanitize cutting boards using a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preferences.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes should be cooked to 165°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces containing pasteurized eggs are safe to eat.

The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at www.ans.iastate.edu/EIC/Templates/AvianInfluenzaConsumers.dwt.

Source: Angela Laury Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Anyday Picnic Salad

AnyDayPicnicSaladPhotoServing Size: 3/4 cup | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 apple (cored and diced)
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped (about 1 rib)
  • 1/3 cup light ranch dressing or creamy salad dressing
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine chicken, apple, and celery in a medium bowl. Add dressing and pepper and stir to coat. Stir in pecans or walnuts, if desired.
  2. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Serve on a lettuce leaf; spread on bread, tortillas, or a sandwich; or spoon into a halved tomato or cucumber.

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 80mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 11g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 25g 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/.

The Hype about Coconut Oil

Many claims tout the health benefits of coconut oil, including weight loss, cancer prevention, and Alzheimer’s disease. So far the scientific evidence does not support these claims. The three types of coconut oil—virgin, refined, and partially hydrogenated—are all high in saturated fat. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, tends to raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, and comes mainly from animal food products. Some examples of saturated fats are butter, lard, meat fat, solid shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil.

The two main types of coconut oil used in cooking and baking are “virgin” coconut oil and “refined” coconut oil. Virgin is considered to be unrefined. Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut pulp that is often chemically bleached and deodorized. Since coconuts are a plant and virgin coconut oil has some antioxidant properties, some individuals may view it as healthy. However, virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that can raise both good and bad cholesterol levels. Manufacturers may also use another form of coconut oil that has further processing—“partially hydrogenated” coconut oil, which would contain trans fat. Some research suggests coconut oil intake may be associated with a neutral, if not beneficial, effect on cholesterol levels.

Tips for using coconut oil:

  • Use “virgin” or unrefined coconut oil.
  • Use it in moderation.
  • Limit foods made with partially hydrogenated coconut oil like baked goods, biscuits, salty snacks, and some cereals.

Allergy Alert: Coconut is considered a tree nut. Individuals with tree nut allergies should talk with their health care provider before using or eating foods containing coconut oil.

Source: Jody Gatewood, MS, RD, LD, Assistant State Nutrition Program Specialist, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Biggest chunk of calories comes from processed foods, study finds

Highly processed foods, such as prepared meals, white bread, cookies, chips, soda and candy, account for more than 60 percent of the calories in products Americans routinely buy in grocery stores, according to a new study.

This study found that many Americans have strongly held opinions and beliefs about processed foods. Some consider processed foods to be tasty, convenient, and affordable choices, while others contend that the combination of sugar, fat, sodium (salt), and flavoring in these foods promotes overeating and contributes to obesity.

Not only are highly processed foods a stable part of U.S. purchasing patterns, but the highly processed foods households are buying are higher in fat, sugar, and sodium on average than the less-processed foods (e.g., fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, fresh meat, milk, eggs, and dried beans) they buy.

The biggest contributors to unhealthy diets and chronic disease are added sugars, excessive fat, and sodium. Too much sugar and fat may result in weight gain, increased cholesterol levels, and aggravation of other health issues. Excess sodium can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, putting extra stress on the circulatory system and increasing the risk for heart disease, heart or kidney failure, stroke, and other health problems.

Add a little spice to your life!

Eating less sodium, sugar, and fat may seem challenging but using herbs and spices can help! Herbs and spices help flavor foods when you cut back on dietary fat, sugar, and sodium.

You can reduce or eliminate sugar with these sweet-tasting spices: allspice, cloves, ginger, cardamom, mace, cinnamon, and nutmeg. When reducing sodium, improve the taste of recipes by adding savory flavors such as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, basil, and onion. Instead of using salt for your pasta, try basil, oregano, parsley, and pepper or use an Italian seasoning blend.

Sources: American Society for Nutrition, news release, March 28, 2015; www.lancaster.unl.edu/food/spiceherbshandout-color.pdf.