Making Salad Safely

Salad is a popular summer dish. However, it is also linked with foodborne illness. There are ways to prepare salad safely so that friends and family do not get sick. Salad food safety tips include the following:

  • Wash your hands! Always wash hands before and after preparing any salad ingredient.
  • Don’t rewash lettuce that is already prewashed in the package. This can introduce contaminants that were already eliminated.
  • Use a different knife and cutting board for each ingredient. If you intend to keep salad ingredients separate for people to make their own, you won’t have contaminated all ingredients.
  • Keep salads cold in a refrigerator, in a cooler, or over ice. Don’t leave out at room temperature for more than two hours. Warmer temperatures (40–140 degrees) can cause bacteria to grow on food and promote illness.
  • Make sure salad is served with a utensil and not bare hands. Hands carry viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. It is best to use clean and sanitized salad tongs or forks.
  • Visit Produce Basics (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/cook/produce-basics) for tips on how to select, store, and wash many types of salad ingredients.

Refresh Yourself with Water for Summer Exercise

Water bottle

The human body is 60% water. Our cells need water to:

  • Remove waste,
  • Control body temperature,
  • Lubricate and cushion joints, and
  • Protect sensitive tissues.

Water is vital to regulate body temperature during exercise in the summer heat. Lack of water can lead to extreme thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. Dehydration is particularly dangerous for young children and older adults.

How much water do we need to be drinking? Adults should get 9–14 cups of fluid a day. Generally, if your urine is pale or colorless, you are getting enough.

Remember, you can also drink and eat other things besides water to get the fluid you need.

  • 100% juice (no more than 1 cup a day)
  • Milk
  • Fruit
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sports drinks (if sweating a lot)

For more about your water needs, visit Mayo Clinic, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.

Berry and Greens Smoothie

Serving Size: 8 Ounces | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 cups leafy greens, washed (kale or spinach)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen berries
  • 1 cup nonfat milk

Directions:

  1. Put bananas, yogurt, and greens in the blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add berries to blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add milk to blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve immediately or freeze in individual servings.

Nutrition information per serving:
90 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g 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

Keep Active While Social Distancing

Since the spring, gyms, recreation centers, and playgrounds have closed or operated in limited capacity, due to the need for social distancing. However, we can still be physically active while staying safe.

Person riding a bike on a country road
  • Walking, running, and biking with people in your household can be fun. Find a little-used trail in your neighborhood, an open park, or even a rural area and go exploring!
  • Avoid crowded parks and recreational areas. Consider canoeing or kayaking in an uncrowded waterway.
  • Try a workout video. On days when the weather is not right for being outdoors, visit free online videos that encourage physical activity. Visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. webpage, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video-category/physical-activity, for ideas.

Sources:

CNBC, www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/best-home-workout-streaming-services-to-try-during-covid-19-pandemic.html
ABC Action News, www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/coronavirus/
these-gyms-are-offering-free-online-workouts-to-everyone-so-you-can-stay-in-shape-during-quarantine

June is Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month helps raise awareness about early detection and treatment of preventable disease among men and boys. Women tend to outlive men by almost five years. One reason for this is that women are more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. Routine health monitoring can help reduce the risk of men’s deaths at an earlier age. Men are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and stroke than women. Healthy changes in diet and exercise habits can lower men’s risks for these conditions. Follow these tips to live longer and healthier:

  • Seek regular medical care to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Get 2 1/2 total hours of physical activity a week, including strengthening exercise on two days a week.
  • Follow a MyPlate-friendly meal plan. Everyone, regardless of gender, needs to eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein foods, and low-fat dairy. In general, men need more calories and protein than women.
  • Limit drinks with added sugar, such as soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Those can add many extra calories.
Man stretching while exercising

Sources:
Men’s Health Network, www.MensHealthNetwork.org
ChooseMyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-get-the-facts-to-look-and-feel-better

Inflammation and the role diet may play

When something harmful or irritating affects our body, the body responds with inflammation. There are two types of inflammation—acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation is short-lived inflammation. An example of this would be when you cut a finger or stub a toe. You see and feel the signs of acute inflammation in your body, and tissues become red, swollen, and painful. It is part of the body’s natural healing response to injury or infection.

Chronic inflammation occurs over time. It is a low level of inflammation occurring inside the body and is not visible. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of serious chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia. It can be caused by smoking, stress, excessive abdominal fat, and alcohol intake, as well as some foods.

To fight chronic inflammation, eat a variety of foods full of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants to help protect our cells. Foods with these compounds include whole grains, beans, nuts, colorful fruits and vegetables, plant oils, and cold-water fish like albacore tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Tea, onions, and spices such as turmeric and ginger also have compounds with anti-inflammatory effects.

Fruits and vegetables

Anti-inflammatory foods are most effective when you are also at a healthy weight. If you are overweight, a 5–10 percent reduction in weight can also reduce inflammation.

On the other hand, some foods—including processed meats, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages—have been linked with increased inflammation. Saturated fat and trans fat are specific components of food that may trigger inflammation. The key to a healthy diet is variety and moderation with all food!

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, July 2019, (www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/what-is-an-anti-inflammatory-diet)

Improving Strength

Hand weights

Small changes in muscle strength can make a real difference in function. Do strength exercises for all major muscle groups on two or more days per week for 30 minutes each. Don’t exercise the same muscle group on any two days in a row. Activities should be done that make your muscles work harder than usual and work all major muscle groups. Complete this 18- minute beginner strength-training workout (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video/at-home-workout-beginner-strength-training) from Spend Smart. Eat Smart. to get you started.

Visit a Farmers Market

Vegetables at farmers market

Your local farmers market is a great source of affordable, seasonal produce. To stretch your food dollars even more, several markets accept SNAP EBT cards through the Double Up Food Bucks program. They will match SNAP bucks dollar for dollar to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

Need help finding a farmers market? The Seasonal and Simple website, seasonalandsimple.info, contains a guide to help find, select, store, and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables found in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Recipes can also be found here for freezing, dehydrating, and canning all of your favorite produce.

Cell phone

Download the free Seasonal and Simple app for iPhone and Android so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Sources:

Healthiest State Initiative, www.iowahealthieststate.com/resources/communities/double-up-food-bucks/how-it-works
University of Minnesota, extension.umn.edu/farmers-markets/shopping-farmers-markets
Choose MyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-smart-shopping

Be Active as a Family

Physical activity is important for all ages. Being active as a family can be fun and beneficial for everyone. The recommended amount of physical activity for adults is 2 1/2 hours per week; children need 60 minutes per day. Try these tips to make activity part of your day!

  • Set specific activity times—Look at your family calendar and schedule physical activity into your day when everyone is available.
  • Plan ahead and track your progress—Let the kids help plan the activities and log them on the family calendar.
  • Include work around the house—Yard work and chores around the house count too!
  • Use what is available—Many activities take little or no equipment or facilities such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, and dancing. Check out programs available at your community recreation center; they may even have childcare or activities available.
  • Plan for all weather conditions—Get outdoors when the weather is nice, but also plan activities that do not depend on the weather. Treasure hunts and hide-and-seek can be played indoors or outdoors.
  • Turn off the TV—Limit screen time to no more than two hours per day. This includes TV, video games, and the computer (except for schoolwork).
  • Start small—Start with an activity that everyone likes and add new ones when everyone is ready.
  • Include other families—Invite others to join the fun!
  • Treat the family with fun physical activity—To celebrate achievements, do something active as a family such as visit the zoo, try out a park, or go to the lake.

Source: Choose MyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov

Warm Weather and Warm Joints!

Woman exercising

As seasons change, our bodies work to adjust to different temperatures. Unfortunately, this can cause our joints to become stiff and uncomfortable during weather changes. Try these three mobility exercises to increase functionality and reduce pain during the changing seasons:

Standing Hip Openers: Find your balance on one foot with the help of a chair. Standing on one leg, make a circle with the knee of the other leg. Bring the knee out to the side of your body and then back. Complete the motion 4–5 times with each leg.

Ankle Mobility: Stand tall with one hand on a wall for balance. Rise up onto your toes so your heels come off the floor. Then slowly rock back to the heels of your feet, letting your toes rise from the floor. Rock back and forth about 10 times.

Knee to Chest Stretch: Place back against a wall and bring one knee to your chest. Grab the knee with both hands and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat stretch on each leg, standing up tall against the wall.

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