Tips To Ward Off Summer Bugs

Mosquito

 

Why so many mosquitoes, and so early this season? An unusually mild winter with a lack of repeated freezes that entomologists say kill off those mosquitoes and ticks, has resulted in a nasty, early bug season. Now, to top it off, with the wet season upon us, (for thouse not living in drought country), this could make for one of the worst bug seasons in history with an increase in insect-borne disease risk such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

 

Mosquito Prevention Techniques

Standing Water

1.) Water: Eliminate standing water which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (flower pots, children’s pools,  watering cans, gutters etc.)

 

2.) Trash: Remember to keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.
gutter with standing water3.) Puddles: Cover up or fill in low places in your yard where puddles can develop.

 

4.) Gutters: Keep gutters cleaned out so water does not build up inside and become a  mosquito  breeding ground.

 

leaky hose bib5.) Drains: Make sure all drains on your property are also cleaned out without leaves blocking them up so water can drain effectively.

 

6.) Pipes: Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.

 

7.) Toys: Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.

 

Children's Wading Pool
8.) Pools: Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.
Bird Bath9.) Holes: Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.

10.) Bird Baths & Planters: Change water in bird baths and planter pots or drip trays at least once a week.
lawn grass11.) Grass: Keep grass cut short around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.

 
Insect shield clothing12.) Insect Shield® Clothing: Reduce the number of mosquito bites you get by wearing insect repellent apparel such as Insect Shield® www.insectshield.com and by using topical insect repellents when outdoors.

Insect Shield’s EPA-registered technology converts clothing and gear into effective and convenient insect protection. The repellency is long-lasting (lasts through 70 washings) and appropriate for use by the entire family with no restrictions for use. www.insectshield.com/shop

Label Decoder: Protein Additives

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Larabar

General Mills uses pea protein to make its Lärabar Alt bars. Lärabar customers ‘focus on health, fitness, and the environment,’ a company spokeswoman says.

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Getty Images

Many consumers associate protein with benefits such as weight loss and greater energy. Food manufacturers are increasingly adding pea protein, made by processing yellow peas, to a variety of foods to pack a greater protein punch.

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So Delicious

So Delicious says it added pea protein to almond milk and other products because it wanted to add a vegetable-based protein to appeal to people avoiding meat.

A lowly legume is getting more attention from food manufacturers who want to capitalize on consumers’ clamoring for more protein.

Pea protein—yellow peas that have been processed to remove carbohydrates and leave the protein—is being added to baked goods, snack bars, drinks and cereals that aim to be protein rich while also appealing to people looking for vegan, gluten-free or soy-free products.

Experts say Americans eat more protein than their bodies need. Still, many people are looking to consume more because they associate protein with good health. Currently, soy-protein isolate—soy beans processed to remove carbohydrates and fat—is the most common ingredient added to boost protein content in foods not naturally rich in the nutrient.

Some consumers are allergic to soy. Also, most soy bean plants grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, a turnoff for some consumers. While many health advocates say eating genetically-modified plants appears to be safe, some say foods containing such organisms should be labeled as such. Retailer Whole Foods recently announced that by 2018 all products in its North American stores that contain “GMOs” must say so on the label. (Why 5 more years? They have stores in Europe and Europe has banned GMO’s)

So Delicious Dairy Free, a maker of dairy-free foods, added pea protein to its So Delicious Almond Plus Beverage last year to increase the protein content. More recently it added pea protein to a Greek almond-milk yogurt and frozen almond-milk desserts.

Companies say pea protein has a fairly neutral flavor, making it ideal to add to other foods.

Corbis Images

Soy-protein isolate, made from soybeans, is widely used to add more protein to various foods. But some people avoid soy because of allergy, digestive and other concerns.

General Mills Inc.’s GIS -2.44% new Lärabar Alt bar, with 10 grams of protein, uses pea protein. Other bars made by the company including Fiber One Protein and Nature Valley Protein include soy-protein isolate. Lärabar consumers want food with “recognizable and carefully selected ingredients,” says a General Mills spokeswoman.

A complete protein is one “that provides all the nine amino acids that our body needs,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian and wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Animal proteins are a source of complete protein, but plants can also provide complete protein when paired with carbohydrates like rice, she says. Pea protein is a good source of amino acids, she says.

Eating soy or peas stripped of almost everything but protein isn’t as healthy as eating the original food with all its vitamins, minerals and fiber, says Ms. Kirkpatrick.

Write to Sarah Nassauer at sarah.nassauer@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared April 9, 2013, on page D2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: LABEL DECODER | Protein Additives.

Older Adults May Need More Vitamin D to Prevent Mobility Difficulties

Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D may be at increased risk of developing mobility limitations and disability, according to new research published online in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Vitamin D“This is one of the first studies to look at the association of vitamin D and the onset of new mobility limitations or disability in older adults,” said lead author Denise Houston, PhD, RD, nutrition epidemiologist in the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

The study analyzed the association between vitamin D and onset of mobility limitation and disability over six years of follow-up using data from the National Institute on Aging’s Health, Aging and Body Composition study.Mobility limitation and disability are defined as any difficulty or inability to walk several blocks or climb a flight of stairs, respectively.

Of the 3,075 community-dwelling black and white men and women aged 70-79 years who were enrolled, data from 2,099 participants was used for the study. Eligible participants reported no difficulty walking .25-mile, climbing 10 steps or performing basic, daily living activities, and were free of life-threatening illness. Vitamin D levels were measured in the blood at the beginning of the study. Occurrence of mobility limitation and disability during follow-up was assessed during annual clinic visits alternating with telephone interviews every six months over six years.

“We observed about a 30 percent increased risk of mobility limitations for those older adults who had low levels of vitamin D, and almost a two-fold higher risk of mobility disability,” Houston said.

Houston continued that vitamin D plays an important role in muscle function, so it is plausible that low levels of the vitamin could result in the onset of decreased lower muscle strength and physical performance. Vitamin D may also indirectly affect physical function as low vitamin D levels have also been associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and lung disease-conditions that are frequent causes of decline in physical function Houston said people get vitamin D when it is naturally produced in the skin by sun exposure, by eating foods with vitamin D, such as fortified milk, juice and cereals, and by taking vitamin D supplements.

“About one-third of older adults have low vitamin D levels,” she said. “It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone and older adults, who may not spend much time outdoors, may need to take a vitamin D supplement.”

Current recommendations call for people over age 70 to get 800 international units of vitamin D daily in their diet or supplements. Houston pointed out that current dietary recommendations are based solely on vitamin D’s effects on bone health.

“Higher amounts of vitamin D may be needed for the preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other health conditions,” she said.”However, clinical trials are needed to determine whether increasing vitamin D levels through diet or supplements has an effect on physical function.”

 

Like Curry? New Biological Role For Curcumin Identified

Oregon State University (OSU) scientists recently identified a new reason why some curry dishes, made with spices humans have used for thousands of years, might be good for you. New research has discovered that curcumin, a compound found in the cooking spice turmeric, can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein that’s known to be important in the “innate” immune system, helping to prevent infection in humans and other animals.

Tumeric Rood and Powder, Source of CurcuminThis cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) is part of what helps the immune system fight off various bacteria, viruses or fungi even though they hadn’t been encountered before. Prior to this, it was known that CAMP levels were increased by vitamin D. Discovery of an alternative mechanism to influence or raise CAMP levels is of scientific interest and could open new research avenues in nutrition and pharmacology, scientists said.

The newest findings were made by researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“This research points to a new avenue for regulating CAMP gene expression,” said Adrian Gombart, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the Linus Pauling Institute. “It’s interesting and somewhat surprising that curcumin can do that, and could provide another tool to develop medical therapies.”

The impact of curcumin in this role is not nearly as potent as that of vitamin D, Gombart said, but could nonetheless have physiologic value. Curcumin has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

“Curcumin, as part of turmeric, is generally consumed in the diet at fairly low levels,” he said. “However, it’s possible that sustained consumption over time may be healthy and help protect against infection, especially in the stomach and intestinal tract.”

In the study, Chunxiao Guo, a graduate student, and Gombart looked at the potential of both curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to increase expression of the CAMP gene. They found no particular value with the omega-3 fatty acids for this purpose, but curcumin did have a clear effect, causing CAMP levels to almost triple.

There has been intense scientific interest in the vitamin D receptor in recent years because of potential therapeutic benefits in treating infection, cancer, psoriasis and other diseases, the researchers noted in their report. An alternative way to elicit a related biological response could be significant and merits additional research, they said.

The CAMP peptide is the only known antimicrobial peptide of its type in humans, researchers said. It appears to have the ability to kill a broad range of bacteria, including those that cause tuberculosis and protect against the development of sepsis.

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