You may have read the news yesterday that blueberries and strawberries can lower your risk of heart disease by about a third. I thought the study—a joint effort between Harvard University and East Anglia University in England—was totally cool for two reasons: Researchers started tracking the women when they were young moms—25 to 42—while most other work of this kind has been done in older women, and blueberries and strawberries are my daughter’s two favorite foods. Seriously, Katie said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I like strawberries better than candy.” And knowing how much she loves candy, that’s a bold statement!
Last night, I sent a note to one of the study’s authors, Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., from East Anglia University, asking whether she thought her results applied to kids as well as moms. She responded right away: “This is a very interesting question,” she wrote. “We don’t have data on kids but if you extrapolate from our study, it’s likely that a healthy diet in childhood will also play out to a reduced risk of heart disease later in life.” That’s good enough for me. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, two big-time risk factors for heart disease, are becoming increasingly common in kids. One study published last year found that 24,000 children received treatment for elevated BP in 2006—double that compared to a decade before.
Dr. Cassidy also added that besides the strawberries and blueberries that got all the attention on the news yesterday, eggplant, plums, red cabbage, and other berries (like cranberries and raspberries) are also rich in pigments called anthocyanins that help lower the risk of heart disease and keep blood pressure in check. I’ve found some great recipes for each of them. Dig in!
“Would you support a fruit-and-water-only snack policy for your kid’s sports team?” That’s the question we posed to our Facebook followers on March 5, in the form of a poll. 303 people said yes, 41 said no.
I’d like to take that concept further. If you would support such a policy, tell me this: Would you welcome a letter like the one that follows? Please keep in mind that it’s referring to young children playing low-intensity peewee-type activities–NOT older kids in sports where they’re burning lots of calories and expending a lot of energy. (That’s key!) Please read the letter and then answer the poll. This is all part of the research we’re doing for a story in the magazine on kids and snacks. Thanks!
I’m organizing the team snack schedule this season, and the coach and I have a suggestion: Remember the orange slices we all ate on the sidelines as kids? Let’s bring them back!
We’re concerned about the snacks being offered at kids’ games and know that many of you are, too. We all sign our kids up for sports to keep them active and fit, but the cookies, chips, cupcakes, doughnuts, and sugary drinks handed out after games aren’t in line with that mission.
This season we’re requesting a fruit-and-water-only snack policy for our team. Fruit contains carbohydrates to replenish their energy, plus vitamins, fiber, and extra fluid to hydrate them. And according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children need only to drink water after exercise, not juice or sports drinks.
When it’s your turn to supply snacks, we ask that you bring fresh fruit, such as apples, grapes, slices of watermelon, or unsweetened dried fruit. Bananas and small boxes of raisins are inexpensive options. Each child should bring his or her own full water bottle to each game. Please do not bring juice boxes/pouches or sports drinks for the team.
If you don’t think your child will eat fruit or you feel he needs something more after the game, please bring your own snack and give it to your child when he’s away from the field.
With this snack policy, our team can set an example for the whole league. We all care about our kids and want the best for them, so let’s start here. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this policy. Thank you!
“Dirty Dozen” List of Produce The “dirty dozen” list of the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue was released Monday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). (Third Age.com)
FDA Bans ‘Waterproof,’ ‘Sweatproof’ Sunscreen Labels
Not all sunscreens are created equal, and indeed, searching for the perfect formulation—waterproof, sweatproof, sunblock or spray—can overwhelm even the most decisive shopper. But a new set of rules regulating sunscreen released by the Food & Drug Administration on Tuesday aims to take the guesswork out of finding effective sun protection for consumers. (Mainstreet.com)