Monday, June 22, 2009

MYTH: I have to take supplements to be healthy.

Answer: MAYBE.

All of the nutrients you need can be obtained from eating food. The various compounds in foods work together to help your body absorb nutrients. Because of the interaction of different food components, it is best to view foods as your source of nutrients.

However, some groups of people may benefit from taking supplements for specific health needs. If any of the below apply to you, ask your physician or registered dietitian if you need to take a supplement:

  • your busy lifestyle keeps you from eating the recommended amount of foods from MyPyramid;
  • you are on a very low-calorie weight loss diet (1200 calories daily);
  • you are elderly and not eating as much as you should;
  • you are a strict vegetarian;
  • you can't drink milk or eat cheese and yogurt;
  • you are a woman of childbearing age who doesn't eat enough fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains;
  • you are pregnant or lactating.

If you decide to take a supplement, be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the label. While supplements can be beneficial, they can also be dangerous when taken in large doses.

For more information about dietary supplements, refer to Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.

Friday, June 19, 2009

MYTH: It's hard for me to be healthy when I travel.

Answer: BUSTED!

With just a little planning, you can keep up your healthy eating and activity habits even when you travel. No matter where you're going or how you get there, you will find helpful tips in this article on Healthful Travel Advice.

MYTH: I can use any recipe when canning.

Answer: BUSTED!

Canning is a great way to preserve food when it is at the peak of freshness. Keep in mind, though, that canning is like chemistry class in your kitchen. If not done properly, canning can be dangerous.

If you follow a scientifically-tested canning recipe, you will be able to safely enjoy your preserved food for up to one year. However, using an untested recipe can lead to a potentially dangerous chemistry experiment in your kitchen.

Canning is a continuously evolving science, and recommendations are updated as new information is released. Even though Grandma's recipe may be delicious, that does not mean it's safe. You can't always see, smell or taste the things that can make you sick, or even kill you.

If you are looking for a safe canning recipe, try visiting the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Here you can learn all about safe food preservation techniques.

For more information about why it is important to can safely, see Summer Garden Produce Brings Bounty of Food Preservation Questions, Concerns.