Live Healthy Iowa 5K

Iowa 5KLive Healthy Iowa, sponsored by the Iowa Sports Foundation, is a partner in the Healthiest State Initiative. Live Healthy Iowa offers many challenges and events throughout the year for individuals and communities to get involved in their health. Registration opened on January 14 for the Live Healthy Iowa 5K, scheduled for April 13 this year. The idea of completing a 5K might sound daunting, but it’s easier to do if you approach it slowly. Try a couch to 5K training plan. View a sample plan. There is also a C25K app for your phone for a personalized training plan.

Source: Live Healthy Iowa 5K

How Clean Is That Coffee Machine?

coffee makerDo you wash your coffee pot every morning, or rinse and reuse the next day? What about the inside of the machine? Do you occasionally run a pot of water or vinegar through? Whether you use a single-use coffee-maker or a traditional multicup machine, they can be difficult to clean, so the rinse-and-reuse method is common. Because coffee is acidic, it should prevent the growth of bacteria. Right?

Actually, there are bacteria that are not only resistant to the acidity of coffee, but they also use the caffeine as an energy source. Moreover, these bacteria are able to quickly repopulate the machine after rinsing alone, and bacteria continue to grow in number and diversity the longer the machine is in use. To avoid unwanted contamination of our beverages with harmful bacteria, be sure you clean your coffee machines, inside and out, frequently following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source: Vilanova C, Iglesias A, Porcar M. The coffee-machine bacteriome: Biodiversity and colonization of the wasted coffee tray leach. Sci. Rep. 2015;5:1–7. DOI: 10.1038/srep17163.

Strawberry S’Mores

strawberriesServing Size: 1 s’more | Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/8 cup yogurt, low-fat vanilla (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 graham cracker (broken in half)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the strawberries in water.
  2. Slice the strawberries.
  3. Add the yogurt and strawberries to 1/2 of graham cracker.
  4. Top with the other 1/2 of graham cracker.
  5. Enjoy immediately.

Tips:

  • Substitute any desired low-fat yogurt flavor.
  • Try other fruits like blueberries, bananas, etc.

Nutrition information per serving: 93 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 87mg sodium, 17g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein

Source: What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl

Food for Thought: The Gut-brain Axis

Ogut-brain connectionne of the biggest buzzwords in current media refers to the smallest subject: the human gut microbiome. This microbiome is a collection of microorganisms living in the human intestinal tract; aka the “good gut bugs.” These good gut bugs help our gut produce compounds needed for digestion and absorption of other nutrients. They also provide protection against harmful “bugs” and support our immune system. These good gut bugs have also been shown to promote brain health.

There is communication between the human microbiome and the brain, called the gut-brain axis. This means the health of your gut microbiome may impact the health of your brain—a healthy gut leads to a healthy brain.

The best way to take care of your gut microbiome is to focus on your overall eating pattern.

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods because increasing fiber can promote abundance of gut bugs.
  • Try fermented foods and foods with pre- and probiotics to improve the variety of your good gut bugs.
  • Prebiotics are plant fibers that promote the growth of healthy bacteria. They are found in many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, including apples, asparagus, bananas, barley, flaxseed, garlic, jicama, leeks, oats, and onion.
  • Probiotics contain specific strains of healthy bacteria. The most common probiotic food is yogurt; other sources include bacteria-fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.

Sources:

  • Shreiner AB, Kao JY, Young VB. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69–75. doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000139.
  • Foster JA, Lyte M, Meyer E, Cryan JF. Gut microbiota and brain function: An evolving field in neuroscience. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016;19(5):1–7. doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyv114.
  • Jandhyala S, Talukdar R, Subramanyam C, Vuyyuru H, Sasikala M, Reddy D. Role of the normal gut microbiota. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(29):8787–8803.

“Exercise is Medicine”—A Worldwide Fitness Trend for 2017

The American Medical Association and American College of Sports Medicine partnered on a global initiative called “Exercise is Medicine.” The vision encourages primary care physicians and other health-care providers to assess every patient’s level of physical activity at each clinic visit. This means the health-care provider will determine whether or not the patient is meeting the U.S. National Physical Activity Guidelines. A treatment plan is then designed to meet recommended physical activity guidelines. A patient could also be referred to additional health-care or other qualified community-based professionals as part of the continuum of care.

Sources:

Exercise is Medicine – exerciseismedicine.org

Health & Fitness Journal – doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000252

Food Safety: It’s in Your Hands

When preparing food, one of the most important ways to avoid spreading germs is to wash hands correctly and often. This may seem like common sense; however, many individuals don’t wash their hands for the recommended length of time, nor do they wash their hands each time they’re contaminated. Did you know handwashing should take approximately 20 seconds overall?

Steps to Wash Hands:

  1. Wet hands. Use warm running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather hands.
  3. Scrub hands for 10–15 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice or watch the second hand of a clock. Focus on scrubbing between fingers and under fingernails.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry hands with a paper towel or air dry. Bacteria numbers increase in damp cloth towels.

We can become less aware of the many times our hands become contaminated. Remember to wash hands after using the restroom; coughing; sneezing; running your fingers through your hair; touching or scratching a wound; petting your dog or cat; changing a diaper; handling money; working with raw meat, poultry, or seafood; and anytime hands touch something that may contaminate them.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing/fact-sheets.html or search for “5 Myths of Handwashing” and “Wash Your Hands” at the Extension Store, store.extension.iastate.edu

After School Hummus

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced) or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Use a blender or food processor to combine all the ingredients except yogurt. Blend on low speed until beans are mashed.
  2. Stir in yogurt with a spoon.
  3. Refrigerate several hours or overnight so flavors blend.
  4. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Tips:

  • Mash the beans with a fork, chop garlic finely, and then stir ingredients thoroughly before adding to the blender.
  • Store hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped red peppers

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 3g protein

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

What to Eat? Snack Attack!

Snacks are foods eaten outside of a scheduled, structured meal setting. Snacking can be part of a healthy meal plan. However, many snack foods and beverages that give us the most calories are low in important nutrients.

According to a United States Department of Agriculture study, after-school snacks provide about one-third of children’s calories. Because children have smaller stomachs, they need the energy and nutrients snacks provide.

Choosing snacks that offer essential vitamins and minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats allow children to get the energy they need while helping them meet their daily nutrition requirements. Use these smart snacking strategies:

  • Plan snacks. Make them part of daily food choices and provide options from several food groups.
  • Encourage regular snack times and amounts. Don’t let children nibble constantly during the day.
  • Be a label detective. Limit convenience-type snacks that are high in sugar, fat, and salt and ones that use excessive packaging.
  • Create snack stations. Package your own ready-to-go snacks. Set up snack areas in the refrigerator and in a kitchen cupboard. Allow children to choose from either.
  • Allow children to be “chefs in training.” Have them help pick out fruits, vegetables, and cheese when shopping. Include them in snack food preparation. Use snacks to introduce new foods.

One snack to try is hummus. Hummus packs a lot of protein and fiber and is easy to make. Raw veggies, crackers, or pita chips can be dipped into this healthy and tasty snack.

Download and print “Snacks for Healthy Kids” at store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4605.

Zesty Whole Grain Salad

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain (brown rice, kamut, quinoa)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • ½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins)
  • 1 bunch kale or 10-ounce package spinach (about 6 cups), torn into bite-size pieces

Instructions:

  1. Cook whole grain according to package directions. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir apples, nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain into dressing.
  4. Toss greens with other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Substitute 2 cups of chopped fruit (strawberries, grapes, oranges) for the apples.
  • Do not give honey and nuts to infants under one year of age

Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 45g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 16g sugar, 5g protein

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

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:

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