The Greek goddess Aphrodite was broken-hearted when she heard Adonis had perished. Myth has it her tears fell to earth as red hearts, and strawberries were created! This oh-so-good-for-you fruit delivers a phytonutrient called anthocyanins that can help slash your risk of a broken heart. Ironic, no? Eating berries three times a week helps prevent heart attack!
But you want to get berry benefits without risking a tummyache, diarrhea or worse. Berries, along with leafy greens, potatoes, tomatoes and sprouts, are the fresh produce most likely to trigger food-borne illness. That’s because they can harbor salmonella, norovirus, E. coli and other troublemakers if the produce is exposed to contaminated water or mishandled during processing or shipping. Fruits and veggies also can pick up these bugs in your kitchen if you don’t store or cook them correctly, or if they come in contact with raw meat or seafood. So ...
♦ Wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after handling produce.
♦ Cut away discolored or soft spots and outside or wilted leaves. Skip the sprouts unless cooked.
♦ Wash produce in running water — no soap or disinfectant — even if you’re going to peel or cook it. Dry to further remove contaminants.
♦ Scrub firm produce like melons, potatoes or cucumbers with a vegetable brush. Dry well.
♦ Store all produce in the fridge at 40 degrees.
♦ Cooking produce to 160 degrees, for even a few seconds, will kill parasites, viruses and most bacteria. Take extra care when cooking potatoes (or keeping them warm) in aluminum foil; it’s a greenhouse for microorganisms.
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Wonder Woman, Superman and Spider-man use their superpowers for good to aid seemingly helpless humans in their time of need. But believe it or not, you have what you need to save yourself from one of the biggest dangers to your existence -- not an asteroid, an invisible force field or an evil twin, but artery-clogging, brain-fogging, love-cooling fat! And your weapon for self-defense? Your nose.
A new set of studies demonstrates that you can sniff out the fat content in foods, whether you’re overweight or normal weight, male or female, young or old. Your all-too-neglected olfactory sense can be one more tool to help you avoid unhealthy foods and weight gain! So how can you cultivate your fat-sniffing powers?
♦ Try an at-home fat-sniffing test. Sniff the difference between a pat of butter, a tablespoon of canola oil, and a french fry. Notice the heaviness of the butter and the french fry smell? See how much lighter the canola oil is?
♦ The dynamic duo of Healthy Aromas and Good Tastes are also packed with smells, strong and subtle. Check them out, too. Cilantro, cabbage, onions, broccoli, green peppers and mushrooms all have distinct and pleasing aromas.
♦ Now take what you’ve learned out into the world. Pay attention to different food smells. Learn to identify those that are healthy and those that are not.
♦ You’ll know you’ve mastered your super-healthy power of smell when the scent of frying bacon conjures up images of wrinkles or impotence, which is what’s caused by eating bacon fat!
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.