Wash those berries before devouring them 

The Greek goddess Aphrodite was brokenhearted 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 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.

SMELL THE FAT

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.

STOP IDLING AROUND SCHOOLS

Idlewilde was New York’s go-to airport until 1963 (it’s now JFK). Idle hands may be the devil’s workshop. And Eric Idle and the rest of Monty Python are getting active again. But have you thought about the idle threat that moms and dads make when they line up in their cars for Pick-up-N-Go at elementary and grade schools across the country?

Idling cars can cause a lot of health problems for kids, exposing them to densely polluted air from car exhaust and triggering coughing, asthma and bronchitis. One idling car emits 20 times more pollution than a car traveling at 32 mph! And it spews ozone, sulfur, dioxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and more. Geez, wheeze!

The benefits of cleaning up schoolyard air were pretty clear when Washington state retired smoke-spewing school buses or retrofitted them with natural gas; They saw a 30 percent drop in kids’ visits to the emergency room for asthma and bronchitis. Now educators and parents in some locales are realizing that it’s up to them to clear the polluted air from idling cars in their schoolyards, too! But more parents, administrators and kids need to tune in to turning off the idling engines.

So now — as Monty Python says — for something completely different, your school can:

Create classroom science projects on exhaust pollution’s health hazards and have kids tally the number of idling cars and the length of time they idle.

Create a pledge letter for parents to sign promising to turn off their car after 10 seconds in line.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.

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