Words on Wellness

Guest Column
By: 
Kelsey Salow
Human Sciences Specialist, ISU Extension & Outreach

Be the Food Safety MVP on Super Bowl Sunday 

Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching (Feb. 2). The big game is a big day for food. 

When food sits out at room temperature for long periods of time, the door is open to uninvited guests–bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Every year, 48 million people become ill from foodborne illness. Don’t be the cause of a foodborne illness penalty flag. Follow these game day rules: 

• Keep hot food HOT and cold food COLD. Hot food need to be held at 140°F or higher. Use slow cookers and warming trays. Cold food needs to be held at 40°F or lower. Nest dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving trays and replace them as needed. 

• Follow the two-hour rule: Perishable foods should not sit at room temperature for more then two hours. Between the pre- and post-game shows, you may easily have food sitting out four to six hours; temperature control is required. 

• Handle food safely. Always wash your hands before handling food, and clean all surfaces. Use different utensils for each food item and ask guests to use new plates when returning to the food table. 

For more information on food safety and cooking temperatures, visit ISU’s food safety website (www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/) or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.

The Sunshine Vitamin 

Vitamin D is not just for your bones. It’s also important for the health of your nerves, muscles, and immune system. Research suggests it can even help combat depression. Many Iowans have difficulty maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the winter months, 40 to 75 percent of us being deficient. 

It is recommended those up to the age of 70 years consume 600 International Units (IU) and those over the age of 70 consume 800 IU of vitamin D. 

We get vitamin D three ways: through our diet, our skin, and supplements. Yes, vitamin D is so important that your body makes it with a little help from the sun. 

In order to reach therapeutic levels described by research, it requires a supplement. You should always speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. Eating vitamin D-rich foods during the winter months is especially important. Try these vitamin D-rich foods: 

• Fatty fish (e.g., tuna, wild salmon, sardines canned in oil; canned fish is just as good as fresh or frozen) 

• Eggs (yolk) 

• Beef liver 

• Fortified foods (e.g., milk, yogurt, cereals, etc.) 

If you avoid some of these foods because of the cholesterol content, don’t worry. A review of science revealed dietary cholesterol intake doesn’t significantly impact your cholesterol levels.

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