Get quick tips on how to prepare safe and tasty food for your next picnic, and the latest nutrition news from nutritionist Elizabeth Somer. Read More…
BY ELIZABETH SOMER Ahh, summer—picnics and barbecues on the horizon. But before your next al fresco adventure, take steps to make sure germs aren’t on the menu.“Bacteria in food kept between the temperatures of 60 and 120 degrees can double within an hour, so keeping food at the right temperature is a must during the summer months,” says Susan Moores, M.Sci., R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.To stay problem-free:
Time it right. “Foods can sit out for up to two hours—one hour if the outside temp is above 80 degrees. Keep an eye on the clock once foods leave the cooler or grill,” says Moores. Once time is up, store food at 40 degrees or less—or toss.
Freeze goodies ahead of time. Frozen drinks, buns and other icy items help chill the cooler.
Cook it well. Grill meats to an internal temperature of 160°F. Hamburgers should be cooked through; hot dogs should be steaming hot. Cook chicken until juices run clear, meat is no longer pink.
Avoid blackened or charred barbecued meats. They contain carcinogens. “Keep meats from touching flames by placing items on the grill once coals start glowing—after the flames have died down. This reduces the chance that meats will char,” says Moores.
Bring alcohol wipes. “Wash up before touching foods, or cooking and eating,” Moores says.
Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers. That way, they’ll cool fast; slow cooling gives bacteria more time to grow.C& FertilityLow levels of vitamin C have been linked to infertility in men, according to a study from the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York. Researchers found that men with low levels of C were more likely to have damaged genetic material in their sperm than men with normal or high C levels. Another study reports men who smoke are more likely to have lower levels of C in their semen and to be infertile. Smoking also reduces sperm count, motility and shape. Advice for men: Eat fruits rich in vitamin C—and if you smoke, quit.Any Fiber Will DoA fiber-rich diet lowers blood pressure whether the fiber is insoluble (for example, whole wheat and brown rice) or soluble (barley), according to a study from the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland. The researchers concluded that “increasing [intake of] whole grain foods, whether high in soluble or insoluble fiber, can reduce blood pressure and may help to control weight.”Writer: Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.About the AuthorElizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet and Age-Proof Your Body, is editor in chief of Nutrition Alert, a newsletter that summarizes nutrition research. She also appears on national television shows, including NBC’s Today.©MediZine's Healthy Living, Second Quarter 2007
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Elizabeth Somer is a writer for MediZine, LLC. Robert A. Barnett is Content Director of HealthyUpdates.com, a health education website produced by MediZine, LLC.
Written by Robert Barnett