This is Public Health

Food Safety Concept

The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex. There is a lot of information to parse in order to understand food labels and to learn the best practices during a food borne illness outbreak. Public health professionals can help guide people through their choices.

Learn more about today’s National Public Health Week theme: Eat Well.

Three Soda Bottles

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of caramel colorings used in a variety of foods, including colas and other dark soft drinks, to determine whether the agency should act to limit consumers’ exposure to a chemical created during the manufacturing process.

The agency’s announcement came in response to a Consumer Report investigation that prompted the watchdog group Consumers Union to call for limits on 4-methyliminazole, or 4-Mel, an impurity produced in the production of some caramel colorings, as well as for labeling of products containing caramel coloring.

Click here to read the full story.

thanksgiving-turkey

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of delicious (and fat-filled) holiday foods. So how do you enjoy yourself without completely sabotaging your diet? Check out Discovery Health’s 52 diet and nutrition tips to cut calories without depriving yourself of a true holiday feast. A sampling is below, but click here to read the full article.

  • Pass up the ham
  • Dark meat is OK, but skip the skin
  • Steamed sides = Slim
  • Pumpkin is perfect

Farmers’ Market Recipe Generator

September 17th, 2013

fruitsandvegetables

When the farmers’ markets are full of white eggplants, shell beans, baby squash, multicolored carrots and greens whose names you don’t even know, it’s time to go shopping: without knowing what you’re looking for, without any kind of plan, just shopping to buy what looks or tastes good — or what the farmer tells you is good. The Recipe Generator is essentially a one-armed bandit of ingredients and techniques, offering more than 50 combinations of things you’re most likely to find in a market or your C.S.A. basket, with recipes that make wonderful use of them.

Click here to check it out.

business people rushing on the street in motion

We’re all busy – one way or another. But eating well, healthfully, and balanced can be a challenge for those always on the go. For those of you who fall into this category, here are some helpful tips to perhaps make your meal planning more efficient, effective and – most importantly – healthy!

1) Prepare ahead of time – Prep is so KEY, especially when you’re busy!

2) Stay Hydrated – Put fresh citrus wedges into your water to infuse it with some natural taste.

Click here to read the full article and get the rest of the tips from LiveWell360.

nutrition-label

Here’s a cool new tool to help keep you on track and healthy! Google recently revealed its new nutritional information search function, which makes it simple to look up the calories, protein, carbs, and other nutrients in nearly any food or dish.

Google tech wizards have added nutritional data to the Knowledge Graph, a feature of Google Search that enables users to get information instantly. It’s simple: You enter a question about the nutritional content of a food or drink (for example: “How many calories are in a banana?” or “How much sugar is in a cupcake?”) and hit search. The answer will show up in a box at the top of the results, with the option to change the serving size for even more accurate information. Below Google’s result, the standard search results page appears with links to other sources and websites if you’d like a second opinion. The Knowledge Graph data includes full nutritional information: Calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals like sodium and potassium.

Click here to read the full story and to check it out.

Wheat selection

It can be tricky to identify what’s legitimately a whole grain product in today’s market, since food labels can often be misleading. Those seemingly whole grain Cheez-Its and Ritz crackers, for example, have more white flour than whole wheat flour. And with just one gram of fiber, the nutritional stats are essentially the same as the regular versions.

In fact, even something labeled as 100 percent whole grain doesn’t mean that it contains only whole grains. Original Wheat Thins don’t contain any refined flour, so they’re legitimately labeled as 100 percent whole grain. However, they also contain sugar, malt syrup, and invert sugar – not exactly what you’d call wholesome ingredients.

Click here to read the full story from the Times-Picayune and learn more about how to spot false labels and be sure you’re really getting the healthy snacks you love.

Food safety is especially important as you prepare a holiday meal and the CDC has some great tips for safely thawing and preparing your Thanksgiving turkey this year. Within the last couple of years, the CDC has investigated outbreaks of foodborne illness that were caused by bacteria in jalapeños, spinach, peanut butter, frozen pizza, frozen pot pies, and frozen beef patties. Many consumers are now more aware of the ongoing importance of food safety.

Check out the tips here.

As we all prepare for the upcoming holiday meals for Thanksgiving, food safety is something that can fall to the wayside along with the discarded scraps and trimmings. However, there are a few good tips from the Washington Post’s recent article we can all follow to help keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy, safe and happy this holiday season.

For example:

  • A colander (or strainer) allows you to wash fruit and vegetables quickly and safely because it lessens the risk of contamination from other foods, such as raw meat, that might have been in the sink earlier.
  • Wash refrigerator bins with dish detergent in warm water. Crisper drawers hold more bacteria than any other part of the refrigerator. Wash them often in a clean sink.

To read the full article, click here.

Probiotics 101!

September 24th, 2012

Researchers are studying the ability of beneficial micro-organisms – or probiotics – to treat a range of conditions from eczema to inflammatory bowel disease. And the idea that “good” bacteria are healthy for us is gaining traction. Because of this information, lots of people have turned to yogurt, with the belief that the bacteria added to the milk as part of the fermentation process are helpful. And there’s some evidence that yogurt affects digestion. Others are trying specialty yogurts or supplements made with specific strains of probiotics. There are hundreds of products on the market.

Check out this great article from NPR for more information about probiotics, how they can help, and the studies going on around them.