Say Cheese

Americans eat a lot of cheese. About 11 billion pounds in 2011, according to the International Dairy Food Association. There’s no denying the benefits of the bone-building calcium found in our favorite cheeses. But the way we commonly consume them — covering nachos or piled on pizza — negates the good in our Gouda. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to cheese and healthy eating.

  • Along with calcium and protein, cheese also contains some vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus.
  • A 2008 study from Turkey showed people who ate cheese reduced acidity in their mouths, which could help fight tooth decay.
  • Several heart-healthy diets, including the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet allow for moderate amounts of cheese.
  • Use cheese as a flavor enhancer. Add a few crumbles to your salad or a thin slice or two with fruit for a dessert. Just remember to add it to your calorie count.
  • Get familiar with low-fat cheeses like soft goat cheese, feta and mozzarella.
  • Most cheeses contain sodium and even low-sodium cheeses can have as much as 5mg per ounce.

Allergies while sleeping?

A good night’s rest is critical to good health, but are mattress allergens disrupting your sleep? According to the Centers for Disease Control, dust mites are linked to allergies and a typical used mattress houses 100,000 to 10 million of them. Dust mites prefer warm, humid climates and feed on dead human skin flakes that have been shed onto mattresses and bedding. Wash bedding weekly, including pillows and their cases, and use allergen-blocking mattress covers to reduce in-home allergen triggers.

Banish pesky pests

Warm weather and hours spent outdoors means more contact with pesky summer bugs. Among the worst offenders are stinging insects such as bees, hornets and yellow jackets. Did you know that fragrant shampoos, sprays and candles can attract them? Pestworld.org recommends avoiding the use of scented items beforehand. Instead use mild, unscented personal care products and avoid floral perfumes, lotions, and creams.

Hike safely

Summertime hikes and nature adventures can be tons of fun — this pleasurable means of exercise captivates tens of millions of Americans each year. Join in, but remember to be safe. According to the Georgia State Parks Department of Natural Resources, each hiker should have at all times the following.

  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Energy bars

Visit their site or your state’s National Parks department for more safety tips, and remember to prepare thoroughly before a hike.