Cataract Awareness Month
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that impacts vision—sometimes leading to blindness. The specific cause(s) of cataracts is not known, but the risk typically increases due to age, smoking, alcohol use, prolonged exposure to sunlight and diseases such as diabetes.
Swimming for Exercise
Swimming is often a summertime favorite for children, but it’s also a great form of exercise for individuals of all ages. What sets swimming apart from other workouts?
- It’s low impact, which is ideal for anyone with overworked or injured joints.
- It’s a form of resistance training that strengthens muscles all over your body, especially your core.
- It’s an aerobic exercise, strengthening your heart and improving lung efficiency.
If you’re a novice swimmer, start slowly to build up how long and far you’re able to swim.
USDA’s Food App
If you’re like most people, you’ve bought groceries only to have to toss the spoiled remainder before you or your family had a chance to eat it. Throwing out spoiled or expired food is frustrating and wasteful, but tracking when each food goes bad can be difficult. Well, now there’s an app for that!
Recently released for Apple and Android devices, the FoodKeeper app includes information on more than 400 items, and the app gives you the ability to access cooking and storage tips, receive food expiration notifications and submit questions to the “Ask Karen” feature, which provides information on a variety of issues including preventing foodborne illness and safely preparing meat and poultry products.
The FoodKeeper app was released in early April 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the larger U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which began in 2013 in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This version of enchiladas is a great pick for a tasty, healthful meal when you’re short on prep time.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 24-ounce can chili without beans
- 1 ½ cups canned, low-sodium, non-fat, refried beans
- 2 cups low-fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 8 large flour tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat chili and refried beans until warm (do not boil).
Spoon about half of the chili mixture evenly onto each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and roll up.
Place side by side on the cookie sheet with seam side down. Top the tortillas with the remaining chili mixture. Sprinkle them with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 8 servings. Each serving provides 310 calories, 17 g of fat, 6 g of saturated fat, 500 mg of sodium, 17 g of protein and 4 g of fiber.
I was speaking with a business associate I hadn’t spoken with for about a year. The last time we spoke she was pregnant and now she is enjoying her baby son (her third child). She and her husband had waited a few years between their second and third children and I suggested perhaps the first two are good helpers. She said they love to help and while that’s been wonderful, they are very young and she has to keep a very close eye.
The Health Benefits of Sunlight Exposure
Most people are familiar with the risks of unprotected sun exposure, such as sunburn, wrinkles, freckles, eye damage and skin cancer.
However, although overexposure to the sun is bad for your health, getting enough exposure to sunlight is necessary and beneficial. Adequate time in the sun gives you several benefits:
- A boost in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your appetite, sleep, memory and mood
- Support of your circadian rhythm, which leads to better sleep—sunlight “turns off” melatonin production each morning, which is the hormone that makes you feel drowsy as it gets darker at night
- Production of Vitamin D, which is needed for important body functions such as strengthening your bones and contributing to your immune system
- Relief of stress and pain, and help for individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression
- Lowered risk for nearsightedness—research indicates that children who spend more time exposed to sunshine outside may reduce their risk of becoming nearsighted
The key to reaping the health benefits of sunlight while avoiding the risks is balance and moderation. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommend about 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen. The time of day and your skin pigmentation will affect how much unprotected time in the sun is healthiest for you.
It’s especially important to wear sunscreen or limit direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. And while you’re out enjoying the sunshine, don’t forget UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes.