June 2009

Health Benefits of Blueberries

National Blueberry Month is coming up, but we don’t need that as a reason to enjoy these delicious beads of juicy tartness straight from nature. They’re in season right now (May through October), so they’re sure to be fresh and delicious if you pick some up from the farmer’s market. And like Colin Firth says in Bridget Jones Diary, there just aren’t enough blue foods!

Though you may love blueberry pie, pancakes, muffins and a slew of other blue-speckled foods (my daughter likes them in her oatmeal), did you know that you’re not only giving your mouth a treat but your body one as well?

Blueberries are considered a “superfood,” and in fact, one of nature’s perfect foods. Since they’re very low in calories (a cup has about 81) but packed with nutrients and benefits, they’re great as a meal addition, a snack, or a dieter’s food.

Physical Education Overhaul

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high in the United States. The Institute of Medicine estimates that over 9 million Americans over the age of 2 and below the age of 18 can be clinically defined as being overweight. Among the reasons they cite are dietary imbalances and an increase in sedentary behavior both in and out of school. In the plainest language possible, kids today are consuming more energy than they expend. The problem basically boils down to a lack of exercise.

These unpleasant figures got me thinking about what we can do as a society to promote healthier living, especially in our children. I can think of two things that have needed massive restructuring for decades. One is school lunches, the other is physical education.

Lay Off the Sauce

June is Pharmacists Declare War on Alcoholism Month, and while I think that declaration is a bit dramatic, alcoholism is a pretty serious disease. I’ve known people who’ve had their lives destroyed by it, died from it, and hurt their loved ones because of their addiction.

The thing about alcoholics is that they won’t change unless they want to, so unless an intervention goes well, others affected are pretty much helpless until that happens (unless a judge orders them to rehab). But once you or your loved one is ready to get clean, here are some tips to combat alcoholism:

Fireworks Safety Month

My mom always used to freak out over fireworks, not letting me near them—and making me want them all the more. Now that I’m a mom I get it, but I don’t want to completely ban them from my daughter’s life. We’ll take her to see professionally-done shows until she’s a teenager, and then… well, we’ll have to talk!

But fireworks safety isn’t limited to children. Adults need to play safe, too. Here are a few fireworks safety tips to keep your summer fun—and safe.

Keep water available. A bucket of water is good; a hose is even better. You never know when a fire could strike. Even if you feel competent and safe, some fireworks are simply faulty and can create a fire even when you think they are put out.

Dairy Alternative Month, Part II: Cheese

We’ve already talked about the health risks of regular dairy milk; now, let’s talk about cheese.

We all know that many cheeses are full of fat and calories. It’s also high in sodium, and can contribute to allergies and other health problems.

And if you are a vegetarian, you could still be eating animal products just by eating cheese. Many cheeses contain rennet, or rennin, which is a part of a calf’s stomach and is often used to coagulate cheese.

Free the Condoms!

Personally, I think condoms should be free—or at least dirt cheap, and definitely covered as a type of health cost. I know that some gynecologists and clinics give them out for free, but with so many doctor’s offices distributing free samples of Claritin and other drugs, why don’t they all give out condoms? After all, not everyone needs allergy medication—but most people could use a condom sometime in their lives.