The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight. A key recommendation of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines is to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which help promote health and reduce risk of chronic disease. Remember the following:
- Regular physical activity offers health benefits for everyone!
- Some physical activity is better than none.
- Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. You can get this amount in by being active 30 minutes 5 days a week.
- For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration.
- Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.
Need some motivation? Not sure where to start? The free online USDA Physical Activity Tracker may be a good way to get new ideas for being physically active and help you track your movement. This is available at https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/physicalactivitytracker.aspx.
The first step in having safe leftovers is to cook the food safely. Cook the food to the proper temperature by using a food thermometer. Bacteria grow rapidly in the temperature danger zone (40°F to 140°F), so be sure your leftovers are safe by following these steps:
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or holding it hot.
- Throw away all cooked food that has been at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Cool foods rapidly. To do this, large quantities of food should be cut in smaller pieces first or divided into shallow containers that will aid in cooling.
- Cover leftovers well before refrigerating. This helps keep odors and bacteria out and moisture in.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months. Although leftovers are safe indefinitely when frozen, quality will deteriorate when stored longer.
For a chart on storage times, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were recently released. They emphasize that a healthy eating pattern isn’t a rigid prescription, but is adaptable so that individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget. This edition of the Dietary Guidelines focuses on shifts to emphasize the need to make substitutions—choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices.
An eating pattern represents the totality of all foods and beverages consumed. All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits, such as those for saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories. All forms of foods—including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen—can be included in healthy eating patterns.
Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.
Healthy eating patterns are adaptable. Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.
Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns. New to this edition is a specified limit to help achieve a healthy pattern within calorie limits:
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium.
For more information on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, visit
Functional fitness is one of the top ten fitness trends for 2016, as identified by the American College of Sports Medicine. Functional fitness is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to make it easier and safer for one to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or playing a game of basketball with your kids. Functional fitness movements are often seen in exercise programs for older adults, but anyone can benefit from these exercises.
Tai chi and Pilates often involve varying combinations of resistance and flexibility training that can help build functional fitness. Below are some specific functional fitness movements that you can try at home:
Squat – www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/0/135/
Multidirectional lunges – www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/0/94/
Seated bicep curls – www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/2/44/
Step-ups with weights – www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/0/28/
After adding more functional exercises to your workout, you should notice improvements in your ability to perform everyday activities, leading to an increased quality of life. Find additional resources by searching the exercise library at www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-main/.
Health inspection records for eating establishments are now easier to find thanks to a new app—HD Scores. The app, available for both iPhone and Android devices, was developed by chef Matthew Eierman and his colleagues. The app displays a map of the user’s area and shows a percentage score for each establishment, based on a scoring algorithm created by HDScores.
HDScores emphasizes cleanliness and factors related to foodborne illness, and it focuses less on issues unrelated to contamination. This means it is possible for an establishment to score an A on their health inspection but receive a lower score on HDScores, like 75 percent, if they have only a few violations but those violations are directly related to foodborne illness risk.
Information on the app is updated frequently, with new inspection scores available within 12 to 24 hours of the health department’s filing. Currently the app contains data for more than 615,000 of the approximately 1.5 million eating establishments across the United States. The app covers the entire state of Iowa. For more information on the app, visit hdscores.com.
Move aside coconut oil; avocado oil is taking center stage! According to Pinterest, avocado oil is projected to be their top food trend for 2016. You can expect this oil to not only pop up in your Pinterest feed, but also at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores.
Avocado oil is derived by running the avocado fruit through a press. The pulp of the fruit is mashed, then spun in a drum at high speeds to separate the pulp from the oil.
More is known about the health benefits of whole avocados than about avocado oil. Diets rich in avocados may lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol. The magnesium in whole avocados possesses blood pressure-lowering properties. Whole avocados also contain potassium, which lessens the effect of sodium on the body. It is unclear whether or not these same health benefits are transferrable to avocado oil.
Remember that your body needs some fat, but fat is high in calories. The fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat, which is considered a “healthy” fat; however, it is possible to get too much, even of the “good” kinds of fat. Adults should aim for 20–35 percent of their calories from fat, with more coming from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat than saturated and trans fat.
Avocado oil has a high smoke point (meaning the oil doesn’t start to break down and burn until a high temperature is reached), making it ideal for searing and browning, as well as on salads. Avocado oil can be more expensive than other oils on the shelf. If using avocado oil, stretch it by using equal parts avocado oil and canola oil in recipes.
Consuming whole avocados allows you to obtain all the nutritional benefits that you would receive from avocado oil. If you are uncertain about purchasing avocado oil, try topping your sandwich or salad with avocado slices.
Winter weather can discourage even the most dedicated exercisers. Use these tips for beating those chilly winter days:
Listen for the weather report, especially the wind chill. The current temperature and wind, along with the amount of time you’ll be outside, are essential factors in having a safe outdoor workout.
Layer it on, from head to toe. Dress in such a way to remove layers as soon as you start to sweat and then redress as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, which draws sweat away from your body. Next, layer fleece or wool for insulation. Top with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.
Drink your liquids. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when exercising, whether it is in the cold weather or warm weather. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Get in the habit of drinking water, even if you aren’t feeling thirsty.
Keeping these tips in mind can help you safely enjoy your time outside, in spite of the winter weather.
Source: Mayo Clinic
New Year’s resolutions often center on self-improvement. The number-one cited resolution is to lose weight. Instead of focusing on weight loss, for 2016 focus on eating well for your brain! What we eat can influence how well our brain functions!
Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and omega-3 fatty acids is linked with better cognitive function (ability to process thoughts), memory, and alertness.
Suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for a healthy brain include:
Put veggies on your plate. Consuming vegetables—especially broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens—may help improve memory. Try a broccoli salad or using fresh spinach on your next sandwich.
Bring on the berries. Dark-colored berries—like blackberries, blueberries, and cherries—are a rich source of anthocyanins and other nutrients that may boost memory function. Enjoy them mixed into cereal, in a smoothie, or with yogurt as a parfait. Buy berries fresh, frozen, or dried; they’re all healthy choices.
Don’t overlook omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve memory in healthy younger adults. Seafood and fatty fish—like salmon, tuna, and sardines—are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are readily available. Choose fresh, frozen, or canned. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to eat fish twice a week. Grill, bake, or broil fish to reap the most health benefits.
Try to add these foods to your daily menu. They will not only be good for your brain, but for your heart as well.
Source: Eat Right
Looking for a fun activity to try this winter? These top outdoor activities are good for burning calories:
Glide along the trail, taking in the fresh winter air and looking for wildlife. Search for parks with groomed trails. With moderate effort, you’ll burn 700 calories an hour, or 500 with light effort.
In areas where it’s permitted and ice conditions allow, ice skating is a great way to get active outdoors in the winter. In one hour of skating, you’ll burn 550 calories.
Sledding and tobogganing
You might ask how many calories you can burn while flying down a hill. Well, don’t forget the repeated walks up that hill, and you’ll rack up 550 calories burned in an hour.
Yes, you can still fish a stream in waders in the winter—look to the trout streams of northeast Iowa, which rarely freeze. In an hour of angling, you’ll burn 460 calories. Not wanting to get in the water? You can still burn 300 calories in an hour by fishing and walking along the bank.
All calories burned are calculated for a 170-pound person per hour. Those weighing less will burn fewer calories, while those weighing more will burn a greater amount of calories.
Search state and county parks by available activities with the Iowa DNR interactive Healthy and Happy Outdoors map.
Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Bacteria are everywhere, but a few types especially like to crash parties. Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, and Listeria monocrytogenes frequent people’s hands and kitchens. And unlike bacteria that cause food to spoil, these bacteria cannot be smelled or tasted. Safe food handling is necessary for prevention.
Staphylococcus (“staph”) bacteria are found on our skin, in infected cuts and pimples, and in our noses and throats. They are spread by improper food handling. Prevention includes washing hands and utensils before preparing and handling foods and not letting prepared foods- particularly cooked and cured meats and cheeses ass well as meat salads- sit at room temperature more than two hours. Thorough cooking destroys “staph” bacteria, but the toxin it may produce is resistant to heat, refrigeration, and freezing and can make you sick.
“Perfringens” is called the “cafeteria germ” because it may be found in foods served in quantity and left for long periods at room temperature. Prevent it by dividing large portions of cooked foods such as beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews, and casseroles into smaller portions for serving and cooling. Keep cooked foods hot or cold, not lukewarm.
Listeria bacteria multiply, although slowly, at refrigeration temperatures. Therefore, these bacteria can be found in cold foods typically served on buffets. To avoid serving foods containing Listeria, follow “keep refrigerated” label directions and carefully observe “sell by” and “use by” dates on processed products like deli meat. Thoroughly reheat frozen or refrigerated processed meat and poultry products before eating.
If illness does occur, contact a health professional and describe the symptoms.