Archive | health

No Need to Cry-Let’s Celebrate the Onion

Guest Post By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

onion recipe

The onion is a hardy vegetable that can be planted right now. It does well in cool climates and can be planted five to six weeks before the final spring frost date, which is early June here in the Northland. You can plant seeds or small starter bulbs.

Onions are the third largest fresh vegetable industry in the United States, according to the National Onion Association. Per person consumption is about 20 pounds per year, which translates to more than 450 semi-truck loads of onions used each day.

There are two main kinds of onions, fresh and dry. Fresh onions include green onions, also known as scallions, and sweet onions, such as Vidalia, that are availablein spring. Dry onions, also known as storage onions, can be yellow, white or red. Dry onions usually have a stronger, more pungent flavor.

The onion’s strong flavor and odor come from sulfuric compounds. These compounds cause our eyes to tear. To keep tearing to a minimum, refrigerate an onion for 30 minutes before cutting and leave the root end on as long as possible, which reduces the release of the sulfuric compounds.

Onions provide a little vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium. Onions are high in flavonoids, the antioxidants that can neutralize harmful free radicals and suppress inflammation in our bodies. One flavonoid is quercetin, which has been linked to protection from lung cancer and asthma.

For some people, onions can increase the symptoms of gastric esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome. Onions, especially when eaten raw, can bring on symptoms of GERD or heartburn because the valve between the esophagus and stomach does not to close well, allowing the acid from the stomach to come up into the esophagus. Some people can tolerate cooked onions or onion powder better than raw onions.

For those with irritable bowel syndrome, onions are a source of fructans that need to be broken apart by an enzyme in the small intestine. If they don’t have enough of this enzyme, the fructans continue into the large intestine where they ferment and result in gas, bloating and/or diarrhea. Avoiding all types of onion is best. Try adding onion flavor by sautéing large pieces of onion in oil, removing them and then only using the flavored oil.  This doesn’t work with soup because fructans are soluble in water and remain in the soup.

Here are two recipes featuring onions.

Marinated onions are a great addition to sandwiches and salads. Try different onions, such Vadalia onions for something sweeter or red onions to add some color.

Marinated Onions

1 medium onion

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup rice vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Peel and thinly slice onion. Separate into rings. Combine remaining ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well blended. Add onions. Shake to coat onions. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Nutrition facts

Serving:  About 6

Calories:  40

Total fat: 2 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Trans fat: 0 grams

Cholesterol:  0 milligrams

Sodium: 1 milligram

Potassium: 35 milligrams

Carbohydrate:  6 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

French onion soup is usually very high in saturated fat and sodium but this one is more heart-healthy.

The traditional soup uses toasted French bread but whole-grain bread makes it more nutritious.

 

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced sweet Vidalia onions

4 cups thinly sliced red onions

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

1½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

6 cups unsalted beef stock (140 milligrams sodium or less per cup)

½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

3 slices whole-grain bread, toasted and cubed

¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese

Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, pepper and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, broth and thyme, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Preheat broiler. Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a pan. Add 1 cup of soup to each bowl. Add ½ slice of toast cut into cubes and then top with 2 tablespoons of Swiss cheese. Broil for 3 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

Nutrition facts

Servings: 6

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 195

Total fat: 7 grams

Saturated fat: 3 grams

Trans fat: 0 grams

Cholesterol: 13 milligrams

Sodium: 250 milligrams

Potassium: 150 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 21 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 10 grams

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

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Measles Cases in Minnesota-Advice from Essentia Health of Brainerd {*Please Read*}

{Shared with permission from an Essentia Health press release}

Essentia Health encourages vaccination for measles

Measles

Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. While no longer common in the United States, Minnesota is experiencing an increase in cases with 32 children under age 5 having measles as of April. The Minnesota Department of Health states that a majority of these children were not vaccinated.

The best way to prevent measles is to be fully vaccinated. Minnesota Department of Health recommends vaccinations for:

  • children age 12 months and older who have not received a MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The first dose of the MMR vaccine is at 12-15 months old and the second dose is usually given between 4 and 6 years of age, but may be given as soon as one month after the first dose.
  • adults who have not had measles or a measles vaccination should also receive the MMR vaccine.

Immunization records are a part of your electronic medical record. If you are uncertain of your vaccination history, Essentia Health patients can check your MyHealth account by logging into EssentiaMyHealth.org or call your clinic. The state has an information system called the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) that can provide immunization records as well.

Measles spreads in the air through coughing and sneezing and can live for up to two hours on surfaces or in an airspace where an infected person has coughed or sneezed. Measles is a very serious illness. For that reason, please seek medical care right away if your child has these symptoms:

  • A mild to moderate fever along with a cough, runny nose or watery/mattering eyes.
  • Tiny red spots with bluish-white centers inside the mouth on the cheek linings
  • High fever and a red, blotchy rash that starts on the face and spreads down the body

If you suspect someone in your family has been exposed to measles be sure to stay home and avoid having visitors until you have talked with your doctor or clinic. Your doctor or clinic will tell you if you should come in for a visit. If you have not been vaccinated, getting an MMR shot within three days of being exposed may prevent you from getting measles.

To schedule an immunization at an Essentia Health clinic please call (218)828-7100. The Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program offers free or low cost shots for children 18 years of age and younger, so cost should not be a barrier to protecting the ones you love.

 

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Easter candy can quickly add up

{guest post By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.}

With Easter just around the corner, baskets are filling up with candy for kids. Sugar-packed treats are also part of the celebration for many adults.

Easter candy

Pop a Peep bunny or chick in your mouth and you’ve just enjoyed a teaspoon and a half of sugar. Sink your teeth into a and you’ve had 5 teaspoons. Four jelly beans equal a teaspoon of sugar.

It’s easy to see how Easter candies quickly load up our diets with added sugars.

Sugar can be natural or added. Natural sugars are found in whole fruits, vegetables and milk products. Added sugars are put into foods during manufacturing or at the table. Added sugars have many names that include corn syrup, date sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose, honey, maltose, molasses, sucrose and fruit juice concentrates.

The American Heart Association and the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting how much added sugar we consume. These calories crowd out other foods that provide important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that we need to keep us healthy.

Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity. Added sugars can also increase inflammation by releasing inflammatory messengers called cytokines.

Most Americans eat 22 teaspoons or a ½ cup of added sugars a day. That adds up to 156 pounds a year, or 15 10-pound bags. The American Heart Association recommends only 6 teaspoons of added sugars each day for women and children and 9 teaspoons for men.

Reading food labels can help you see how much sugar you’re eating. However, it is sometimes difficult to decipher how much of that sugar is natural or added since the amount listed in the nutrition facts includes both. If you don’t see any of the names for various forms of sugar, then the total sugar comes from natural sugars. For candy, the total sugar is added sugar. It’s more difficult for a product like yogurt that has natural sugars from milk and usually has some added sugar. The label also lists grams so remember that four grams equals a teaspoon of sugar.

We like things sweet because we are born with a desire for sweet foods. Foods that are high in sugar and fat release “reward chemicals” in our brain and give us a strong desire to eat more.

This Easter season, start something new by rewarding your family with some alternatives to candy. Then rely more on the natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products that also provide vitamins, minerals and many phytonutrients to keep your immune system strong and help improve or prevent many chronic diseases.

SIDEBAR: Easter basket alternatives

Create new traditions this Easter that include less added sugar. Try filling Easter baskets with fun alternatives to candy:

Bunny ears
Balloons
Bubbles
Colored pencils or crayons
Coloring books
Stickers
Sidewalk chalk
Toothbrush
Toys for the tub, beach or sandbox
Squirt gun
Stamps and ink pads
Jump rope
Hair bow/barrettes
Fun socks or tights
Gift card for phone apps or music
Seed starter kits
Baseball or tennis balls
Yo-yo
Bubble bath
Nail polish
Sunglasses
Movie tickets or DVD
Zoo admission

Happy Easter!

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

Bike Fleet Grant Awarded! Details on the Crow Wing Energized Bike Fleet

(shared with permission from Essentia Health-Brainerd)

MINNESOTA SUPER BOWL HOST COMMITTEE AWARDS LEGACY GRANT TO CROW WING ENERGIZED

Brainerd Bike Fleet

{Steffenhagen Photography}

The grant will help fund an educational bicycling program for children in Crow Wing County

BRAINERD, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded Crow Wing Energized with a $50,000 grant to help provide a fleet of 60 bikes to Crow Wing County and the community. The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.Crow Wing County Bike Fleet

The Crow Wing Energized Bike Fleet will serve as an educational tool for Crow Wing County to help children learn how to ride a bike, bike safety and as a hands-on learning tool on how bicycling can be a part of a healthy lifestyle in addition to a recreational activity. Working with the physical education teachers at elementary schools in the county, the bikes will be part of state-required bicycle curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade students.Brainerd Bike Fleet

To celebrate the grant, Crow Wing Energized and the MNSBHC Legacy Fund hosted an event for Garfield Elementary School students today. Activities included a pre-lunch recess, lessons on bicycle safety, fittings for free helmets and practice-time riding a stationary bike. Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Laine Larson and representatives from Crow Wing County were on hand to accept the grant from the MNSBHC Legacy Fund.

 

“A recent survey revealed that two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight in Crow Wing County and contributing factors are inactivity and unhealthy eating, habits we don’t want children of our community to adopt,” said Adam Rees, President of Essentia Health-Central and co-chair of Crow Wing Energized. “Crow Wing Energized has already started programs to provide healthier food options to children in the community, but this program and the grant received today, will help us teach kids the healthy benefits of fun activities like bicycling.”
The project is a collaborative effort between Essentia Health, the City of Brainerd, the City of Baxter, Crow Wing County, Independent School District 181, Easy Riders Bicycle and Sports Shop, Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition and Brainerd Public Library. All these organizations will work with Crow Wing Energized to coordinate the bike fleet education program and the transportation of the fleet between schools in Crow Wing County.

“Crow Wing Energized and the community organizations moving the Crow Wing County Bike Fleet project forward are making an important investment in the health and wellness of Minnesota’s children,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “We are thrilled to support this initiative as part of our 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, to promote lifelong healthy habits for children in this community.”

 

{Steffenhagen Photography}

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

 

About the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund is a 501(c)3, community advised fund of the Minnesota Community Foundation. Working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and based on the recommendations of SHIP’s community health boards, the Legacy Fund is providing 52 grants to 52 community projects across our state over the 52 weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII. The work of the Legacy Fund is made possible by Minnesota’s philanthropic community, including foundations, corporations, and individual donors who share our passion for improving the health and wellness of kids from every corner of our state. Its goal is to build awareness of, and invest in solutions for, a healthier generation of Minnesota kids across the state. Through its grant making and awareness initiatives, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Legacy Fund will leverage this single event into a lifetime of good health for the next generation of Minnesotans. For more information on the MNSBHC’s Legacy Fund, including an introductory video, please visit www.mnsuperbowl.com/legacy.

 

About Crow Wing Energized
Crow Wing Energized is a united approach lead by Crow Wing County Community Services and Essentia Health to improve health and wellness in Crow Wing County by making healthy choices essential. They are looking for collaborative solutions with multiple community stakeholders focused on efforts that can create the greatest community good with their available resources. For more information, please visit http://crowwingenergized.org/.

 

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