Spring is near! And, with it comes the old time tradition of spring cleaning. After the long winter months, spring always brings a sense of freshness. A good way to add to that freshness is by deep cleaning our houses and airing them out after having them shut up through the winter. Also, spring cleaning has many health benefits. So, pull out the vacuum and mops and let's clean our way to better health.
Here are ways that a good spring cleaning may contribute to better health-
Today is the perfect time to start your spring cleaning. If the task of cleaning the house from top to bottom seems daunting and stressful, remember that there is no timeline to complete spring cleaning. Traditionally, deep cleaning was customary after the long winters due to the build up of grime that was caused by oil and kerosene lamps and wood-burning stoves. Start with creating a list of all the tasks you want to accomplish and break that list into small, daily or weekly projects.
However you may decide to tackle spring cleaning, remember that it can provide you with health benefits and also give you a sense of accomplishment.
Have you ever heard of radon? If you haven't, you are not alone. Around 40% of Utahns do not know what radon is. However, radon is a big problem in Utah. It is known as a "silent killer" and is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Let's take a look at what radon is and what we can do to prevent and treat for it.
What is radon?
Radon is a gas that is naturally found in soils and rocks; it is invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive. Radon occurs when uranium breaks down in rocks, soil and water. It is found everywhere, outdoors and indoors. Outside, where the air is moving constantly, radon never reaches dangerous, concentrated levels. However, it can become a hazard indoors where the gas can collect in enclosed spaces. Radon gas passes through cracks and openings in the foundation or walls of homes or buildings; and, the lower levels of homes and buildings are more susceptible to higher levels of radon gas. Due to high levels of uranium in its soil, Utah has the potential of having higher levels of radon gas.
Mark Stevens, an environmental scientist for Bear River Health Department, stated that over 50% of homes tested in the Bear River district have had high levels of radon (HJNews).
Why you should be concerned.
Why should you be worried about radon gas in your home? As mentioned previously, radon is a carcinogen that may cause lung cancer. So, when radon levels become too high, they become a risk factor to our health. Bits of radon gas can easily attach itself to dust or other particles in the air and can be inhaled into our lungs. Once inside, these bits of radon gas can give off radiation that may damage the cells and lead to lung cancer.
How to reduce your risk of overexposure.
The best thing you can do to reduce your exposure to radon is to test for it. There is “no safe level" of radon exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that action be taken if levels of radon gas measure above 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). There are two types of tests that are used for radon testing: a short-term test and a long-term test. The EPA recommends starting with a short-term test which can be purchased at home stores for a relatively low cost. A long-term test takes over 90 days but will give a more accurate reading for average year round radon levels. There are also trained contractors that will test the radon levels in your home. If radon levels are testing at high rates, active air fans and sealed piping can be used; but, the EPA recommends hiring a qualified mitigation contractor to lower the levels of radon. Keep your family safe, test your radon levels today.
For more information on radon, please watch the video below and click on the links listed.
As I sat contemplating this week's health topic, I decided a snack was needed in order to get my brain thinking. I immediately set to work in making my favorite snack; I got out the peanut butter jar and a spoon. Then it hit me, like a pound of peanuts, why not dedicate this week's blog to one of my favorite foods that keeps me going, almost daily, Peanut Butter! I knew that peanut butter had some health benefits, but what exactly does it provide and is it really a health food? Let's take a look at what I could find about the good and bad of peanut butter.
A Brief History
First off, let's take a quick glance into the history of peanut butter. For a more detailed history, click on one of the links below:
National Peanut Board
The earliest history we have of peanut butter is from the Aztecs and Incas, who grounded peanuts into a paste. Modern uses of peanut butter in the United States can be attributed to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. A doctor and early activist for good nutrition and health, he filed a patent in 1895 for a process of creating peanut butter by boiling nuts and making a paste. He saw this as a necessity for many of his patients who had difficulty chewing. Peanut paste offered an easily digestible food that was packed with nutrients. Thanks to Kellogg, and the many contributors and entrepreneurs that followed, this peanut paste of years ago began evolving into the creamy peanut butter we know and love today that has become an American, household staple. The average child graduates high school consuming around 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (PreparedFoods).
Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter contains many benefits that, in moderation, can be a wonderful addition to a well-balanced diet.
Moderation is Key
Although there are many health benefits to peanut butter, there are also ingredients that make peanut butter not so healthy and why eating it in moderation is important.
Per a serving size of 2 tablespoons, peanut butter is high in calories (approximately 200 calories), fat (16g, 4 of which are saturated fats), sodium (140mg) and added sugars. While most of the fats in peanut butter are the good kind, it is still important to consume in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain.
As you can see, peanut butter may provide you with many health benefits but eating it in moderation is the key to enjoying this tasty food. So, next time you are in need of a snack to tie you over to your next meal, consider having a small serving of peanut butter. To add even more health benefits to your snack, pair your peanut butter with celery or apples.