When It Comes to Food
By Serena GordonFRIDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) Keeping up on food safety and nutrition can be confusing: One day a food is reported as good for you, and the next a study finds that it’s not so healthy after all. It also can be frightening when a foodborne illness outbreak occurs.
But eating isn’t optional. So, food safety and nutrition experts offer their best advice on what you need to know to eat healthily and safely.
1. Rely on thermometers. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, wants you to remember, it’s to check the temperature of your foods with a thermometer.
“Color and texture aren’t reliable indicators of how safe a food is,” said Hanes. “You have to use a food thermometer to ensure that food is cooked to a safe temperature.” For whole cuts of beef, pork or lamb, that means cooking them to a minimum of 145 degrees F and letting them rest for three minutes when they come out of the oven. All poultry, including ground poultry, should be cooked to 165 degrees F. Ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees F.
The best way to take the temperature of such foods as hamburger or chicken breast is to go in through the side to the thickest part of the meat. Hanes suggests using oven safe thermometers or instant read thermometers de free run 2 signed for meat.
2. Carbohydrates and gluten may not be your enemy.
For some time, dieters have been shunning carbohydrates, and the latest food craze appears to be forgoing gluten, a protein found in wheat. People with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that affects a person’s ability to process gluten safely, definitely need to avoid gluten. But, according to Amy Frasieur, a registered dietitian with Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., there’s no evidence that people who do not have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity will benefit from a gluten free diet.
Along the same vein, dieters who’ve been trying to stay away from carbohydrates should make sure they’re not missing out on vital nutrients. “Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the human body,” free run 2 Frasieur said. “Many carbohydrate foods provide us with essential nutrients. Refined carbohydrates such as sugars, candy and processed grains can be very low in nutrients, but other carbohydrates can be exceptionally good for the body, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and barley.”
3. Leave it.
You might have heard of the “five second rule.” Some people say that if you drop food on the floor and pick it up quickly within five seconds it’s still safe to eat.
Not so, said F free run 2 rasieur. “Bacteria can adhere to food immediately upon contact,” she said. Thus, from a food safety standpoint, the five second rule is a myth.
4. Keep it separate.
You also may have heard that you should keep raw meat and produce separate, and that it’s a good idea to have separate cutting boards for each. But have you ever thought about the things that might be contaminating your countertops and tables?
“In my house, nothing goes on the counter no purses, no school bags,” said Cheryl Luptowski, a public information officer with NSF International, a nonprofit safety organ free run 2 ization. “It’s just not a good idea to put anything that was sitting on a floor somewhere on your counter or kitchen table.”
She also said people who use reusable bags should make sure they have separate bags for groceries and other items. And, she said, all grocery bags should be washable.
5. Ponder produce selections.
Are organic foods worth the extra cost? Frasier said that results from studies on the nutritional content of organic produce have been mixed, so it’s not clear if they provide any extra nutritional benefit. However, these foods do provide a clear benefit for reducing exposure to pesticides and additives in your foods.
And, whether organically grown or not, have you ever wondered if it’s really safe to eat prepackaged salads, baby carrots and more? Hanes said that if the products are labeled as “ready to eat” or “prewashed,” they should be safe to eat right out of the bag.