Photo Source: Laurie Osgood
With everything going on in the world today, it could be easy to forget one of the most important holidays of the year, Father’s Day. We will celebrate Father’s Day on June 21st this year, during Men’s Health Month! Father’s Day is a good time to show the men in our lives that we want them to be with us for a long time. Let’s celebrate Men’s Health Month by encouraging the men in our lives to adopt healthy habits and seek regular medical advice.
Most men do not like to go the doctor. A 2014 survey conducted by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined that American men are much less likely to go to the doctor than women. Starting a conversation could encourage him to pay attention to his health as he ages. But how do we start the conversation with our father’s about their health issues? To ensure a stress-free conversation, pick a time and place with few distractions and present the topic in a loving and non-judgmental manner.
Here Are the Top Healthy Living Tips for Men:
- Schedule an annual physical exam: Annual physical exams can help spot potential problems before they get serious. Only you and your doctor can determine your best checkup and screening schedule. Preventative screenings such as an annual colonoscopy are based on a patient’s age and risk factors for developing a condition or disease, including family or personal history, age, ethnicity, and environmental exposure.
- Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack: According to the American Heart Association, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Therefore it is important for everyone to recognize the signs of a heart attack. These warning signs include pain or discomfort in the jaw, chest, arms, shoulders, neck, or back, feeling light-headed or weak and shortness of breath.
- Make sleep a priority: Many adults don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for our bodies to maintain our healthy bodily functions. Sleep disorders and ongoing lack of sleep can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
- Reduce Stress: High levels of stress can negatively affect a man’s lifestyle. Stress can be life threatening and can lead to a heart attack. UF/IFAS Extension’s Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) offers a collection of information on various subjects including how to manage stress.
- Stop Smoking: Men who smoke are at a greater risk for heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and strokes. Quitting can help lower the risk for smoking-related illnesses. The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign offers resources to help quit tobacco use.
- Exercise More: Regular workouts can improve heart health as well as reduce stress and weight. Experts tell us that we should all try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat Healthy: A healthy diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products daily. USDA offers tips for Men’s Health; 10 Tips: Get the Facts to Feel and Look Better .
Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate the men in our lives and encourage them to pay attention to their health and well-being because we want them to be around for a long time.
Going to the doctor may not be as fun as going to a ballgame or the beach, but having a conversation about their health may be the gift we can give our fathers on Father’s Day.
For more information on healthy living or other extension related topics, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent.
Extension classes are open to everyone regardless of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations.
Once known as star berries because of the pointy flower calyxes on top, blueberries have grown wild in North America for thousands of years. They were a staple among Native Americans, who dried and smoked the berries, and pounded them into venison to flavor the meat.
Berries such as blueberries are rich in vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants and can be delicious additions to yogurt, salads, and smoothies. (Photo source: UF/IFAS file photo)
Uses & Preparation
Wash blueberries just before using. Add to yogurt or cottage cheese or any fruit and mild cheese platter. For color and great taste, add to salads; or sweeten pancakes, cakes, and muffins.
Look for firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned berries with a light grayish bloom. Ripe berries should be deep-purple blue to blue-black.
Cover and refrigerate fresh berries for up to 10 days. Blueberries are easily frozen for later use. Freeze unwashed blueberries in airtight, resealable plastic bags. If thawed, keep refrigerated and use within 3 days.
Blueberry Pancake Stacks
Vegetable Oil for cooking
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Dash of nutmeg
In a mixing bowl, stir together the milk, oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the milk, and stir just until mixed (batter should be slightly lumpy). Gently fold in the berries. Spoon the batter onto a griddle or pan greased with vegetable oil and heated to medium-hot (dollops should be about the size of a silver dollar). Let the batter cook until the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble, then flip and cook until done. Stack and serve immediately with softened margarine and warm syrup. Makes about eighteen 2 1/2″ pancakes.
Combine 1 pint of blueberries and 1 cup of maple syrup in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, then lower the heat and simmer until most of the fruit has burst. Remove from heat and use a fork to mash the berries. The syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nutrition Information: Good source of vitamin C. High in fiber. Low in calories.
Available Fresh: April – June
To learn about fresh Florida strawberries, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Blueberries.
.For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.
UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.
Strawberries from Fresh off the Farm event. Taken 04-12-2019 (Photo Source: UF/IFAS Camila Guillen)
Choose locally- grown strawberries during the harvesting season; they will be the freshest and the most flavorful. When picking strawberries, try to pick early in the morning or later in the day when the fruit is cool. Strawberries are best used within 2-3 days of picking.
Uses & Preparation
Freezing Whole Strawberries; Spread a single layer of prepared fruit on shallow trays and freeze. When frozen, promptly package (to avoid freezer burn) and return to freezer. The fruit pieces remain loose and can be used as needed.
Freezing Sliced or Crushed Strawberries; Prepare berries: Using ripe berries, wash gently and remove caps. Slice or crush partially or completely. To 1 quart berries add 3/4 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand 15 minutes. Pack into containers, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Seal and freeze.
Sort and remove any bruised or damaged berries as soon as possible and use in sauces, purees or jams. Place the berries in cool, well-ventilated containers. The moisture content of fresh strawberries is high, so store them unwashed and uncovered, or loosely covered.
1 pint = about 3 1/4 cups whole berries (12-36 depending on size of berries) or about 2 1/4 cups sliced berries. 1 cup sliced fresh berries = One 10-oz. pkg frozen, sweetened berries.
MERRY FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE
1 9- inch pie crust, baked
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry flavored gelatin mix
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1cup boiling water
2 pints strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
2 cups whipped topping (optional)
Combine sugar, gelatin, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in boiling water. Boil mixture for 3 minutes over high heat, stirring constantly. Cool completely.
Arrange whole strawberries in pastry shell. Pour gelatin mixture over berries. Chill before serving. Top with whipped topping, if desired.
Nutrition Information: Low in calories – High in Vitamin C – Good source of folate, potassium & fiber
Available Fresh: April – May
To learn about fresh Florida strawberries, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Strawberries.
.For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.
This month brings awareness and education about the importance of our kidneys in maintaining a healthy life. Kidney function is unique because you may not notice the symptoms until the function is already far gone. The CDC reports chronic kidney disease is a condition that 1 in every 7 adults (age 18 or older) in the United States has, as well as people with end stage renal disease who need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
How do your kidneys keep you healthy?
- Help remove excess fluid levels in the body.
- Make vitamins that control growth.
- Activate Vitamin D for healthy bones.
- Filter wastes from the blood.
- Control the production of red blood cells.
- Release hormones that help regulate blood pressure.
- Help regulate blood pressure, red blood cells, and the amount of certain nutrients in the body, such as calcium and potassium.
There are many complications associated with kidney disease. They include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, heart attack, weak bones, high blood pressure, stroke, anemia/low red blood cell count and of course kidney failure.
Speak openly with your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding your health. (Photo source: Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS)
The main risk factors for kidney disease and the problems associated with it are high blood pressure, diabetes, family history, and being 60 years old and above. Out of these four problems, two of them – high blood pressure and diabetes – may be managed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking medications as prescribed, regular visits to your doctor and exercise. If you have been diagnosed with either of these two, you need to regularly monitor your blood pressure and glucose levels, take medications if prescribed, and speak openly with your doctor about concerns or questions you may have. Family history and being over the age of 60 are not issues you can control, but you can strive to live a healthy lifestyle and regularly have blood work drawn so your doctor can help catch any issues that are becoming a problem. Learning to maintain and follow your doctor’s orders will go a long way to keeping you and your kidneys healthy longer.
What are the symptoms you may notice if you are experiencing kidney problems?
- Swelling in your face, hands, abdomen, ankles, and feet.
- Blood in your urine or foamy urine.
- Puffy eyes.
- Difficult, painful urination.
- Increased thirst.
If you notice any of these problems or are just concerned because of family history, your family doctor can order the blood work to check your kidney function. If you find out you are experiencing kidney problems you should see a nephrologist – a kidney specialist.
Although many people ignore the importance of their kidneys, they play a very important part in our daily bodily functions in regulating minerals, fluids, blood pressure, and so much more. Striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle will help to ensure your kidneys keep working hard for you. Be sure to show your kidneys some love this March to celebrate National Kidney Month.
National Kidney Foundation – https://www.kidney.org/
Center for Disease and Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/
Spring showers not only bring flowers, but beautiful fresh produce from the garden.
March in National Nutrition Month. Celebrate with nutritious delicious GREENS.
Be sure to carefully wash greens before preparing to ensure a safe and delicious product. (Photo source: Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS)
The dark leafy vegetable we refer to as “greens” range from earthy to peppery in flavor. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and kale are often grouped together because of their texture, pronounced flavor, and general uses. They actually come from several vegetable families. In general, these tart greens are cooked before eating. The season for some varieties peak November through March.
Choose leafy greens with fresh full leaves. Avoid greens that are brown, yellow spotted, wilted, or have slimy leaves. Wash greens before use. Cut stems from leafy greens before cooking. Sauté collard greens with garlic, onions, and tomatoes a little bit of olive oil. Simmer greens in low-sodium chicken broth until greens are wilted and tender. Store greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to five days.
NUTRITION TIPS: A 1/4 cup of cooked greens is about the size of one cupped handful.
Beans and Greens
1 can white kidney beans or cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh kale, stemmed and chopped into large pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add greens to the skillet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon of water. Cook, tossing often, until greens are bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat. Drain and heat beans and add to green mixture. Toss mixture, season and serve. Serves four; 1 cup serving
3 cups water
1/4 pound skinless turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 green ground ginger
2 pounds mixed greens (collards, turnips, mustard, and kale)
Place all ingredients except greens into large pot and bring to a boil. Wash greens and remove stems. Chop greens into small pieces and add to stock. Cook 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Serves six; 1 cup serving
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Cooked greens are excellent sources of Vitamins A, C, K, and Calcium.
AVAILABLE FRESH: March – June & October – December
To learn about fresh Florida greens, please read our fact sheet: Panhandle Produce Pointers – Greens.
For more delicious produce preparation tips, please visit: http://www.panhandleproducepointers.com.
February is National Heart Health Awareness Month. On February 7th join the nation and wear red to show support and awareness for women and heart disease.
National Heart Awareness Month is sponsored by the American Heart Association. It is designed to provide the public with information that could lead to a more healthful lifestyle and reduce heart disease.
Go Red for Women’s Heart Health
Photo Source: Dorothy Lee
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States yearly. According to the American Heart Association heart disease and stroke kills one in three women yearly in the United States. Heart disease is a silent killer. It often strikes without warning.
Know the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease. Risk factors are family history of heart disease, diabetes, poor diet, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, excessive alcohol use, smoking and physical inactivity.
The diet choices we make today are important to our nutritional well-being tomorrow. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, high in fruits and vegetables, and grain products that contain some type of dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Our health is our most precious possession. A healthy diet is only one part of a heart healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is another important component. The American Heart Association physical activity guidelines recommend some type of aerobic exercise daily. Walking, dancing, biking, swimming, or gardening are good examples. Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
We are all concerned about maintaining good health. Take steps to a healthier heart. Develop good eating habits based on moderation and variety, plus physical activity can help keep and even improve your health. So, reach in the back of the closet and find that little red dress and wear it this year on Friday, February 7th in support of Women’s Heart Healthy Awareness. Go Red!
For further information, contact:
Dorothy C. Lee, C.F.C.S.
UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County
3740 Stefani Road
Cantonment, FL 32533-7792