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What do you do to make your home a more healthy place? MONIQUE KOCH HARRIS: Cleaning green with nontoxic cleaners. BRIANNA MARTIN: No junk food, and no soda! KYLE NORBERT: Plants. JENNIFER DENTON: Clean it. And open the windows at least once a day, especially in the winter. MICHAEL M. MORAN: No beans! BRENDA LYNN MARTINSON: Clean the bathroom often!

SUPERFOOD

Sweet Potatoes Shine ATTRIBUTES: There are many varieties of sweet potatoes — some have yellow flesh, while others are deep orange or even purple. What we call a yam is really a variety of sweet potato. The richer the yellow-orange flesh is in color, the more beta carotene the potato contains. Purple sweet potatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants. SUPERPOWERS: One yellow-orange sweet potato can contain more than enough beta carotene to satisfy your entire daily requirement of vitamin A. They’re also packed with vitamin C and manganese, not to mention 15 percent of your recommended dietary allowance for fiber. And a sweet potato rings in at just about a hundred calories.

ANDREW BURNS: Feng Shui. Xuan Kong Fei Xing, to be precise. KAREN GALLION: Vacuum often. For each week you need a day for each person living there (animals included, by the way). Five people = five times that week. JOEY PEKALA: Nothing, I’m a pretty unhealthy dude. 

HOW TO USE THEM: Forget about candied nuts and added sugar. Instead, steam half-inch slices of sweet potatoes for seven minutes to maximize their nutritive properties. Then toss with toasted walnuts and a light vinaigrette for a tasty side dish. — ANNE McGREGOR

ASK DR. MATT

EVA SILVERSTONE: We share “three good things” around the dinner table. This way we focus on the positive of our day and not the humdrum or dreary. It seems to put us all in better moods and refocus our energies — plus it makes for great dinner conversation. CJ VOGES: Nothing. Being around unhealthy stuff and people makes me mostly immune to unhealthy stuff. Unhealthy people...not so much. I just avoid them as much as possible.

WEAKNESS: You’ll need to add a little fat to cooked sweet potatoes to aid absorption of the beta carotene.

For a Cough, Try a Little Honey

A

Matt Thompson is a pediatrician at Spokane’s Kids Clinic.

n interesting Israeli study was published in Pediatrics within the past year, comparing how well cough symptoms responded to three different types of honey and a sweet date extract. Three hundred kids aged 1 to 5 received either a honey treatment or the placebo date extract. While the frequency and severity of coughs decreased in all the kids over the subsequent nights, the kids who got honey improved significantly more. It’s not entirely clear why honey would work to calm a cough. One theory is that the nerve fibers involved in the cough reflex are similar to those that respond to sweet tastes. Or it may be that the antioxidant properties of honey are partly responsible for the impact on cold symptoms and coughs. There is a caveat: Honey absolutely must not be given to children under 12 months old for any reason. This is because of the risk of botulism. After 12 months, the gut has decreased permeability that won’t allow botulism spores to pass through. This was a fairly small study, and though blind and randomized, the measurement of symptom improvement — based on parent questionnaires — was quite subjective. However, it raises the possibility that there may be some benefit to this intervention, and further investigation is warranted. In the meantime, it’s good to have alternatives to over-the-counter cold medicines that sleepy parents often reach for. These OTC meds are not without risks. Prior to the FDA recommending that parents not give these medicines to children, there were thousands of ER visits yearly in the U.S., probably related to the side effects of cough and cold medicines. Most likely, the troubles were more related to overdosing on the medicines. I won’t be throwing out the purple stuff from my medicine cabinet quite yet, but I may try a few teaspoonfuls of honey first. — MATT THOMPSON OCTOBER-NOVEMBER, 2013

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Health 9 9/25/13 2:41 PM

Inhealth October 2013  
Inhealth October 2013