Make Brain-healthy Lifestyle Choices

Man chopping vegetables

According to the Global Council on Brain Health, one way to keep your brain healthy is to make changes in your lifestyle. To reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, follow these tips:

  1. Make healthy food choices—eat berries, whole grains, fatty fish, vegetables, and lean protein.
  2. Complete crossword puzzles, read books, or take anew class to stimulate your brain.
  3. Use guided meditation or practice deep breathing to reduce stress.
  4. Aim for 7–9 consecutive hours of sleep by turning off electronic devices before bed.
  5. Stay connected with friends and family or participate in a local congregate meal site to remain socially active.
  6. Be sure to move in any way you enjoy, such as dancing, gardening, and vacuuming.

Source: Healthy Living While Aging, extension.unr.edu/

Water Is Essential for Good Health

Glass of water

Water makes up about 50% to 70% of your body weight. It is essential for maintaining body temperature; lubricating and cushioning joints; and getting rid of waste. Drinking water during or after a meal also aids digestion. The amount of water your body needs depends on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live.

You are likely getting enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow. You will need more fluids to keep hydrated during exercise or on hot summer days. To make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s a good idea to drink water with meals; before, during, and after exercise; and when you feel thirsty.

Source: Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/

Cool Food the Right Way to Protect Your Family

Foods in refrigerator

Every year in the United States one in six people get sick from contaminated food. Cooling food quickly helps reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Avoid the Temperature Danger Zone (temperatures between 40°F and 140°F) by refrigerating perishable food within two hours—one hour if it is a hot day (above 90°F). Keep your fridge temperature at 40°F or below and use a fridge thermometer to keep food safe.

Keep food safe by dividing leftovers into smaller portions and storing in shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator, putting perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get them home from the store, and always marinating food in the refrigerator.

Source: Partnership for Food Safety Education, www.fightbac.org/

Berry and Greens Smoothies

Serving Size: 8 ounces | Serves: 8

Glass of smoothie

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:
100 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 12g total 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

Good Gut Health

Bowls of fruit and grains

Did you know that your digestive system plays an essential role in your overall health? Nurturing a population of good gut bacteria is good for your health. What you eat may encourage the growth of good or bad bacteria. For example, avoiding processed foods, high-fat foods, and foods high in added sugars is important for maintaining a healthy gut. Eating high-fiber and fermented foods actively promotes the growth of good gut bacteria.

High-fiber foods are a good source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are the fuel for your good gut microbes. High-fiber foods include legumes, like black beans and chickpeas; whole grains, including whole wheat and oatmeal; vegetables; nuts; and fruits. Eating high-fiber foods may help build a strong immune system; improve digestion, sleep, and brain health; and support heart health.

Fermented foods are great sources of probiotics. Probiotics are living friendly bacteria. The goal is for these helpful organisms to take up residence in your gut and replace other less helpful or even harmful bacteria. Fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi.

This month’s recipe, Berry and Greens Smoothies, has both high fiber and fermented foods. Bananas, frozen berries, and greens are high in fiber and yogurt is a fermented food; try it today!

Sources:
Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/gut-health
Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter, nutritionletter.tufts.edu/

Smartphone Apps and Fitness Trackers May Be Helpful Ways to Increase Physical Activity

If you are looking for ways to be more active, you may want to consider using an app or fitness tracker.

  • Look at different apps and decide if there is one best suited for the activity you enjoy. Consider asking a friend to join you in using the same app.
  • If you are competitive, a physical activity app might be effective at getting you moving and staying on track. Many apps include exercise role-playing games that use competition and exercise challenges to encourage and motivate users.
  • Social support can have a positive impact on increasing physical activity levels. Sharing your activity on social media platforms and receiving feedback from friends and followers can be encouraging.
Man with yoga mat

Forbes Health shares the following 2023 Best Apps:

  • Best Free App: Nike Training Club
  • Best Live Classes: FitOn
  • Best for Working Out Solo: GymShark Training
  • Best Personalized Training Plans: Adidas Training
  • Best for Modifications: Workout for Women
  • Best HIIT Workouts Freeletics: HIIT Fitness Coach
  • Best for Daily Challenges: 30 Day Fitness at Home
  • Best for Strength Training: Jefit
  • Best for Quick Workouts: Daily Workouts—Home Trainer

Source: British Medical Journal, www.bmj.com/company/

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe sandwich

Serving Size: 1/2 cup meat, 1 bun | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 whole wheat buns

Directions:

  1. Combine ground beef, onion, celery, and pepper in a skillet. Add water.
  2. Cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Cook until beef mixture reaches at least 160°F.
  3. Put ground beef mixture in a colander set over a bowl. Drain fat into separate container, later discard in the trash. Rinse ground beef with warm water, and return to skillet.
  4. Add ketchup, mustard, and sugar. Heat 5–10 minutes on low heat.
  5. Serve mixture on whole wheat buns.

Nutrition information per serving:
300 calories, 11g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 60mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 11g sugar, 23g 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

Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning When Eating Out

Hamburger and chips
  • Check inspection scores. Check a restaurant’s score on the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals website, iowa.safefoodinspection.com. Inspections are a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection.
  • Look for certificates that show kitchen managers have completed food safety training.Refrigerate your leftovers quickly.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of when the food was prepared (or 1 hour if the food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, like in a hot car or at a picnic). Eat leftovers within 3 to 4 days. Throw them out after that time.

Source: CDC Food Safety and Eating Out, www.cdc.gov

Strategies to Help When Cooking for One or Two

Woman cooking
  1. Prepare Semi-homemade Meals. Semi-homemade is a combination of packaged foods and unprocessed foods. For example, you can use frozen stir-fry mix with canned chicken and instant rice. Grab a frozen chicken alfredo dinner and pair it with a salad and a cup of milk.
  2. Choose Simple Recipes. You can make delicious meals with just 5 ingredients for a quick meal. Benefits of choosing simple recipes include that they are easy, they take less time to prepare, and there is less food waste.
  3. Cut Recipes in Half. Cutting a large recipe in half is a great way to make cooking and preparation easier. Soups and casseroles are recipes that are easy to cut in half.
  4. Use Canned and Frozen Food. Choosing canned or frozen food is a quick addition to any meal. Add canned chicken in a chicken salad sandwich or prepare frozen veggies by microwaving them. Canned and frozen food items are budget friendly, provide smaller portions, have a longer shelf life, and reduce food waste, making them just as nutritious as fresh food items.
  5. Enjoy Leftovers. You can also cook once and enjoy a second meal later. Recipes serving more than two can be easily prepared, divided in half, and frozen to enjoy later. Sloppy Joes is an example of a recipe that freezes well.

Using Food Thermometers

Meat thermometer

Did you know 66% of people do not use food thermometers correctly? If food temperatures are not checked regularly, people are at higher risk of a foodborne illness.

Research by the USDA shows one out of four hamburgers turn brown before they reach the minimum internal temperature. The color of cooked food does not determine its doneness. Check meats in the thickest part of the food without touching any bone or fat. Clean thermometers before and after use with hot soapy water.

USDA Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart, go.iastate.edu/JAZA0S

  • Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb—Steaks, Roast, Chops: 145 degrees F
  • Fish: 145 degrees F
  • Ground Beef: 160 degrees F
  • Egg Dishes: 160 degrees F
  • Turkey, Chicken, Duck—Whole, Pieces, Ground: 165 degrees F

Sources: USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service, www.fsis.usda.gov/

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