News Roundup: Coconut Oil

 

Coconut oil has taken the Internet by storm in recent years as a healthy substitute for other oils. This oil has also become a popular “super” food, with high use in paleo diets. However, new findings suggest that coconut oil may be better suited for use on the body instead of in the body.

This week’s news roundup brings a collection of articles related to the new finding from the American Heart Association on limiting coconut oil usage.

Study: Coconut oil great for your skin, not so great for your health. CNN. “Data shows coconut oil increased LDL or bad cholesterol in seven out of seven trials, which can increase cardiovascular risks…One benefit the study did point about coconut oil is that it's a holy grail for hair and skin care.”

New Study Confirms That Coconut Oil Is Alarmingly High in Saturated Fat. Huffington Post. “In fact, 82 percent of the fat found in coconut oil is saturated ― that’s significantly more than olive oil, which clocks in at 14 percent and canola oil, which contains a mere seven percent.”

Coconut oil isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy. USA Today. “’Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil,’ the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory.”

Coconut Oil Raises Bad Cholesterol, According To Advisory By The American Heart Association.Medical Daily. “According to the World Heart Federation, eating too much saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to plaque build-up on your artery walls. Too much build-up increases your risk of heart disease.”

 

First Day of Summer

 

Cheers to the arrival of Summer! When we think of summertime, a lot of different things can come to mind...sand between our toes, lazy afternoons soaking up the sun, kids out of school and ready for fun, a delicious variety fresh fruits and veggie, BBQ’s, water activities, etc. The list can go on and on! Summer is a perfect time of year to take a fresh look at your health goals and how the season can help you to reach them.

Summer Activity Goals:

  1. Take some time to play with the kids outside. Those kids are bursting with energy! Pull them away from their devices and out the door for some good old fashioned fun outside in the yard or at a park. 
  2. Join an adult sports team (soccer, Frisbee, volleyball, etc). Most communities offer different sports activities for adults. Do some research to find out what your community offers. Most likely, you will find casual recreation available that not only boosts your activity levels, but can introduce you to new friends!

Fun outdoor activities include:

*Water gun party, water balloon party, volleyball, swimming, kickball, frisbee, biking, hiking, and roller skating* 

 

Summer Nutrition Goals:

Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant this time of year! Take advantage of seasonal produce to help meet nutrition goals. Some fruits and vegetables in season include:

  • Watermelon (CLICK HERE to check out a delicious Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers (CLICK HERE for a delicious Summer Cucumber and Tomato Salad recipe)
  • Tomatoes

*Don’t forget to stay hydrated in the summer heat!! Try to always have a bottle of water with you and remind your children to drink water throughout the day.*

Summer Sleep Goals:

The days are longer and the nights are warmer in summer. Sometimes this can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Keep these things in mind when working towards those summer sleep goals:

  1. The kids are out of school so the alarms are turned off. Although getting up bright and early during summer break is not necessary, it is helpful to keep a structured bed time and wake-up routine. This will help to ensure everyone is getting the sleep they need.
  2. Research shows that people tend to sleep better if it is cooler. Most people nowadays can adjust their temp settings to ensure a cool nights sleep even during the hottest parts of summer. Other ideas include swapping out heavier sheets and blankets for lighter linens and taking a shower before going to bed to lower your body temperature. 

Summer Mindfulness Goals:

Take time to stop and smell the roses! We have all heard that saying at one point or another. How often do we actually try to follow that little bit of advice? Summer time can be a very busy time. Between sports, vacations, camps, and other activities it may be hard to find time to wind down. Each of these activities provides a perfect opportunity to stand back, to reflect on, and to appreciate. Appreciate the family time, the vacations, and the little things. Appreciate the ability to make memories with our family. Appreciate the fresh fruits and vegetables that fill our plates. Reflect on the activities and events of the long summer days...because before we know it, Fall will arrive and another summer will be in the books!

Have a great summer!

Healthy Snacks for Travel

 

 

Whether you’re piled in a car with friends or family for 4 or 48 hours, road trips are a classic summertime getaway. But when hunger strikes on the open road, fast food chains dotting the sides of highways are your only options for miles. Although it’s a quick fix, the heavy food can send you snoozing in the backseat or worse: the driver’s seat. This post shows some snacks to pack that will let you drive on by the restaurants while earning you some energy for the adventure ahead.

Fruits and Veggies

Long road trips are a perfect time to squeeze in some of your fruits and veggies for the day. Their low-calorie counts mean you can snack on them all trip long! While you want to leave the juicy (like peaches or plums) and easily bruised (like bananas) fruits at home, most raw fruits and veggies will travel well. Some example fruit & veggie choices:

Veggies

  • Baby carrots (or sliced carrot rounds)
  • Snap peas
  • Broccoli & cauliflower
  • Sliced bell peppers (though peppers do best if you have a cooler!)
  • Celery sticks
  • Radishes

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Clementines
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruit. But be mindful of serving size – dried fruit can have a higher calorie count than raw fruit but freeze-dried fruit has a much lower calorie count than dried
  • Squeezable applesauce. That’s right, squeezable snacks aren’t just for kids! As long as you look for squeezable pouches with 100% fruit and no added sugar, you can nosh on these with no spoon necessary
  • Smoothies. Be sure to look for ones with no added sugar; or you can blend up some of those juicy fruits you won’t be able to bring!

You can jazz up your raw veggies with some dippers too; look for travel containers of hummus, guacamole, and peanut butter for dippers that are hard to spill!

Protein

Protein is key for long-lasting energy, which is vital for those long, boring stretches of highway where everyone else is asleep in the backseat. Turn the radio up and munch on these protein packed snacks for some energy to fuel your road-trip singing voice!

  • Squeezable Greek yogurt. Squeezables strike again – many Greek yogurt brands also make squeezable pouches so you can enjoy some yogurt without a spoon. As with any type of yogurt, make sure to check the ingredients. Stay away from yogurts that have added sugar. Milk has naturally occurring sugar in it already, so you don’t need more added sugar on top of that.
  •  Snackable Almonds. Nuts are high in protein, but mind the serving size; nuts can also have a high calorie count. It might be helpful to buy or make containers with about one serving so you don’t mindlessly munch!
  • Nut butter packets. Spread them on whole grain crackers, fruit, or just eat it straight for some high-protein deliciousness!
  • Cheese – cheese is packed with protein and hard to spill
  • Hard boiled eggs

Hydrate

Road trips are notoriously dehydrating. Yes those extra beverages may mean extra pit stops, but you won’t be limited to a stop with a restaurant. This means you can stop wherever you want to appreciate the places you’re passing through!

  •    Water
  •    Flavored sparkling water
  •    Unsweet tea. You may want to avoid this drink in the evening due to its caffeine content

Pit-stop picks

For those times when you find a stop you just can’t pass up, any of these snacks combined can make for a satisfying side of the road meal. But if you’re looking for something a little heartier, try tuna! Canned 100% pure tuna with no added salt or liquids is a healthy, protein-packed food that keeps without a cooler. Pop open a can and mix it with some of your other veggies for a tuna salad, or just spread it on whole grain crackers or celery sticks for a snack that feels like a meal.

Packing Pro-Tips

  • Save space by ditching the store packaging and packing your snacks in your own stackable containers so you can see what’s inside
  •  Label each container for even more snacktime clarity
  •  Use a “snack bin” & stack your containers in one location in the car so you know where each snack is; no more digging through a suitcase to find your favorite crackers!

These snacks will help you be a power road tripper throughout the summer season. Safe travels from Army H.E.A.L.T.H.!

 

News Roundup: Microwaved Mushrooms

 

Many vegetables taste better cooked; however, the method of cooking can rob you of some of the vegetable’s important nutrients. A study that recently captured the attention of several news outlets revealed that one of the best possible ways to preserve nutrients in your vegetables is somewhat unexpected: the microwave.

The Healthiest Way to Cook Mushrooms Is Totally Surprising. TIME “The researchers concluded that the best way to cook mushrooms while still preserving their nutritional properties is to grill or microwave them, as the fried and boiled mushrooms showed significantly less antioxidant activity.”

Microwave mushrooms “to keep their goodness,” scientists say: BBC “Frying resulted in protein and carbohydrates being lost from the mushrooms, as well as antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are vitamins and chemicals that play a key role in protecting the body against free radicals, which are linked to heart disease, cancer and other diseases.”

Nutritional properties of mushrooms are better preserved when they are grilled or microwaved: Science Daily “When mushrooms were cooked by microwave or grill, the content of polyphenol and antioxidant activity increased significantly, and there are no significant losses in nutritional value of the cooked mushrooms.”

Preserve Nutrients in the Kitchen: Environmental Nutrition “Make friends with your microwave. Since it cuts cooking time and water use, the microwave is a nutrient-friendly kitchen appliance. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science found microwaving preserved higher antioxidant activity in a majority of 20 vegetables studied compared to any other cooking method.”

 

Things to Remember about Memorial Day

 

Memorial Day is approaching and although it may be a three-day weekend filled with barbeques and family gatherings, this holiday has a very significant meaning: remembering those who have lost their lives fighting in our armed forces.  Memorial Day is a great opportunity to continue to remind ourselves about the ultimate sacrifices so many men and women have made for our country.

 

What’s the Difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

People often confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day because both are national holidays set forth to honor our Armed Forces. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military in both wartime and peacetime. Veterans Day is largely intended to thank all living veterans for their service and the sacrifices they made to defend our great country. On the other hand, Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for our country. This day is an opportunity to show our support and gratitude to their families.

 

History

Prior to being called Memorial Day, this holiday was called Decoration Day in response to the American Civil War, in which some 620,000 soldiers died. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the country led to spontaneous commemorations of the dead. In April 1866, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate Soldiers. In the same month in Carbondale, Illinois, 219 Civil War veterans marched through town in memory of the fallen to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Union hero Major General John A. Logan delivered the principal address. This ceremony gave Carbondale its claim as the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance. Waterloo, New York, began holding an annual community service on May 5, 1866. Although many towns claimed the title, it was Waterloo that won congressional recognition as the "birthplace of Memorial Day."

 

Important Facts

  • It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half-staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
  • The World War I poem "In Flanders Fields,"by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for "keeping the faith with all who died."
  • In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3pm in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3pm "is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday."
  • The first large observance of Memorial Day was held at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Ideas for Observance

  • Visit cemeteries to decorate the grave-sites of fallen military members with flowers and flags
  • Visit military memorials
  • Support a charity that remembers fallen warriors and provides ongoing support to their families
  • Attend special events and ceremonies, wear a Memorial Day badge, red artificial poppy or flag pin

As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of historical national awareness and admiration, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these fallen heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

 

 

Resources:

https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/civil-war-facts

Logan’s General Order No. 11 (5 May 1868)

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae