Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Got Wrist Pain? How to Identify and Avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As an orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon, I have the opportunity to take care of a wide variety of athletes from various realms of competition. Recently, I have noticed a trend among my patients, primarily those who engage in heavy weightlifting and bodybuilding. These individuals, both men and women, appear to be developing carpal tunnel syndrome at an alarming rate. 

How to Identify Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

It is clear these athletes are committed to the sport of weight training; however, their bodies are rebelling in a not-so-subtle way with the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome itself is a compression of the median nerve of the wrist (pictured below) and unfortunately, this compression causes numbness, tingling, pain, and a debilitating lack of grip strength and dexterity. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cancer survivors who lift weights survive longer.


The Effect of Resistance Exercise on All-Cause Mortality in Cancer Survivors.



To examine the independent associations of leisure-time aerobic physical activity (PA) and resistance exercise (RE) on all-cause mortality in cancer survivors.


Patients included 2863 male and female cancer survivors, aged 18 to 81 years, who received a preventive medical examination between April 8, 1987, and December 27, 2002, while enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study in Dallas, Texas. Physical activity and RE were assessed by self-report at the baseline medical examination. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was performed to determine the independent associations of PA and RE with all-cause mortality in participants who had a history of cancer.


Physical activity in cancer survivors was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. In contrast, RE was associated with a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality (95% CI, 0.45-0.99) after adjusting for potential confounders, including PA.


Individuals who participated in RE during cancer survival had a lower risk for all-cause mortality. The present findings provide preliminary evidence for benefits of RE during cancer survival. Future randomized controlled trials examining RE and its effect on lean body mass, muscular strength, and all-cause mortality in cancer survivors are warranted.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Muscle mass extends life expectancy

If you do heavy physical work or weight training, you'll not only make your body more muscled and stronger, but you'll also make it last longer. Muscle mass extends life expectancy write researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine in the American Journal of Medicine. 

Read More at 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Training, Recovery, and Nutrition for the 40+ Runner

As a runner in my mid-forties, I’m beginning to notice a slight decline in my recovery ability and a more pronounced awareness of general muscle and joint pain. This time last year I felt as good as I did in my thirties (or at least I think I did), but now I feel that more visits to my massage therapist are in order.
The effects of aging on muscle function are different for each person, depending on other factors relative to your lifestyle, as well as genetics. But medical research has shown that in general a gradual loss of muscle function occurs, due to a decrease in both the number and size of muscle fibers. These changes may directly affect our ability to run by decreasing our endurance capacity and our overall strength and balance. The good news is that we can minimize the rate of decline by continuing to run (in a modified manner) and by giving our regular training routine and lifestyle a bit of an overhaul.

Switch to a Quality Over Quantity Mentality

Consider reducing the amount of time you spend running and then add value to your workouts by making each one purposeful. In other words, don’t just run to add miles to your weekly training log, but ascribe to each run a specific objective.  
For example, include in your weekly run schedule one HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout, one easy-paced mid-distance run, one tempo run, and one long run. You can also take advantage of the various pace calculators available online and use them to determine specific training paces for any upcoming race goals you might have. Here are a couple of pace calculators you can use:

Learn to Love Strength Training

One of the bonuses of reducing your overall mileage is that it opens up extra windows of time to dedicate toward strength training. Too few runners give credence to the value of strength training and then wonder why they repeatedly suffer from injuries.
Doing a few strength exercises two or three times a week will help to keep injuries at bay by avoiding imbalances in overall muscle strength. Furthermore, stronger muscles improve running efficiency by enabling you to maintain good form when the body starts to fatigue. And of course, greater muscle strength may help you to run faster and longer. A few strength-training resources you might find useful are:

Do Exercises in All Three Planes of Movement

There are three planes of movement: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. Movements in the sagittal plane are back and forth, while movements in the frontal plane are side to side, and movements in the transverse plane are rotational. Runners tend to spend a lot of time exercising in the sagittal plane but neglect to do any exercises in the other two planes. This often results in muscle imbalances that can weaken your ability to move and run.  
One of the best warm-up routines I’ve seen, which incorporates dynamic movements in all three planes, is Gary Gray’s lunge matrix. It is demonstrated in the following video clip by coach Jay Johnson:

Monday, July 21, 2014


by Alex Hutchinson

There are lots of interesting theories out there about how to train better and race faster; I write about them on a regular basis. But it's important not to get so wound up in theoretical discussions that we forget to take a look at what the most successful athletes are actually doing in real life. There's been a push recently from sports scientists to get more field data from top athletes published and into the public domain, which is a great development. Along those lines, there's an interesting new study from Norwegian researchers in PLoS ONE that analyzes the training of 11 Olympic and World Championship gold medalists in XC skiing and biathlon. Specifically, they look at exactly one year of training for each athlete, culminating in that athlete's greatest triumph. In other words, it's a study of exactly what those athletes did when they got everything right.
There's a ton of interesting stuff in the paper, which is freely accessible to read – it's worth a look if you're interested in how to plan and periodize endurance training. Some of the details are specific to skiing – e.g. on average, the 11 athletes trained for 800 hours in 500 sessions in the year leading up to their championship race. That's a detail that can't be readily transferred to other sports with different muscular demands: as the study notes, top runners tend to train "only" ~500 to 600 hours per year. Interestingly, there was a trend over time suggesting that athletes are training harder (or at least more) than they used to. The subjects won their gold medals between 1985 and 2011; the more recent the championship year, the greater the training volume they were likely to do (but in the same number of sessions).
Another pattern: about 90% of the training time was below lactate threshold, while 10% was above. This is fairly consistent with previous studies of elite athletes, which tend to show around an 80/20 split.
The most interesting contrast between training theory and practice is in the taper. There have been lots of studies on how to taper, and several common pieces of advice emerge from those studies: taper for about two weeks; drop your volume by 40-60%; maintain training frequency and intensity; and so on. In practice, here's what the tapers looked like:

The key difference is that these athletes weren't able to focus all their attention on tapering for a single race. Instead, they had to bring down their volume by 24% (on average) six weeks before the championships in order to compete in key World Cup races. From there, in the final two weeks before the championship, they only dropped another 9%. This is the reality of competing on the circuit. Is it optimal? Who knows, but when coaches are planning training they have to take these scheduling issues into account.
There are some other interesting points that emerge when you look more closely at the taper (which you can see in Figure 7 of the original paper). For example, many athletes took a rest day between 12 and 6 days before the championship, but only 3 of the 11 athletes took a rest day in the last five days before the race. In contrast, 10 of the 11 athletes did a high-intensity interval session within 48 hours of the championship final. The picture that emerges (which, as it happens, is consistent with theoretical models of how to taper) is that you get maximally rested up a week or so before the competition, rather than right before the competition, then ramp your training back up in the final few days to make sure you're in the rhythm and not rusty.
Anyway, those are a few highlights – as I said, if you're interested in this stuff, it's worth checking out the original paper. After all, these are the people who got it right.

Friday, July 18, 2014

9 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat

By now, we all basically agree that fat is an essential nutrient. Certain fats, like linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid, are physiologically essential because our bodies cannot produce them. Other fats, like those found in extra virgin olive oil and grass-fed butter, are culinarily essential because they make food taste really good (they’re not so bad in the nutrition department, either). And others are conditionally essential, meaning they become extremely helpful and even critical in certain situations. But how much is enough? How do we know when to increase our intake of specific fats?
There are a few indicators that you might need more fat. If any of the following issues are giving you trouble or sound familiar, consider increasing your intake of fat. It may very well help solve your problem.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Benefits of Zinc


Improve all aspects of your health and well-being by making sure you get enough zinc in your diet. Many people know about zinc for its immune boosting properties, but this mineral is actually a wonder of health benefits. Researchers write that “zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster.”

Zinc is so important because it is found in every tissue in the body and is directly involved in cell division. It is a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer, but zinc also is directly involved in proper endocrine function and the maintenance of ideal hormone levels.

Zinc deficiency makes both men and women infertile and causes low libido. Low zinc also exacerbates the effects of stress on the body and accelerates aging.  Additionally, adequate zinc is necessary for optimal physical performance, energy levels, and body composition. Zinc affects protein synthesis and is required for proper function of red and white blood cells. It is highly concentrated in our bones, the pancreas, kidneys, liver, and retina.

This article will give you the top ten reasons why you should attend to your zinc levels and ensure your loved ones are doing so as well. Be aware that zinc deficiency is not only prevalent in malnourished individuals or developing countries. Rather, it is widespread in the U.S. and the UK, and it is particularly common in areas where the population eats a large amount of cereal and grain proteins. Low zinc is common in men, women, and children, and I’ve found that over 90 percent of my clients and athletes are zinc deficient.

Groups At Greatest Risk of Low Zinc
Zinc deficiency occurs from not eating enough zinc-rich foods. Zinc is found in large concentrations in meat, some seafood—oysters contain the largest concentration of all known foods—and dairy. Whole grains and legumes contain zinc, but it is bound to phytates in these plant-based foods, making the zinc inaccessible by the body. Vegetarians are at greatest risk of zinc deficiency, but alcoholics and people with digestive issues and poor stomach acid are also highly susceptible. Taking medications may produce zinc deficiency and low levels of almost all essential nutrients. Women on the birth control pill or on hormone replacement therapy are at greater risk of deficiency.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Low zinc will produce an altered sense of taste leading to cravings of saltier, sweeter food. Deficiency can also be indicated by diarrhea, low energy, chronic fatigue, infertility, poor immunity, bad memory,  inability to focus, ADD symptoms, slow wound healing, nerve dysfunction, and ringing in the ears. Take note that symptoms may be present, but because they are so diverse and associated with other health conditions, it’s often hard to make the link to zinc deficiency without a test. A guide is provided at the end of this article on how to test your zinc level.

#1 Improve Athletic Performance and Strength
Adequate zinc directly affects athletic performance and strength development from training because it plays a primary role in anabolic hormone production.  Research shows having ample zinc available in the body allows for a more robust release of the three most important anabolic hormones, testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Without these, you’ll miss out on muscle and strength development from your hard work in the gym.

Tumar /
A recent study in the journal Biological Trace Element Research highlights the boost that raising zinc levels can give to testosterone production following exercise. Researchers found that giving trained athletes a zinc supplement for four weeks prior to an exhaustive exercise test resulted in a greater post-workout testosterone response than a placebo. Taking zinc produced higher testosterone levels in the athletes than taking a selenium supplement (a powerful antioxidant that minimizes oxidative stress in the testis). Researchers note that zinc enhances the conversion rate of androstenedione to testosterone, and that paired with high-intensity exercise, it allows the body to produce testosterone at an even higher rate.

Male and female athletes will benefit from adequate zinc since this mineral ensures healthy release of growth hormone and IGF-1, which are essential for performance and muscle development in both sexes. Plus, the boost to testosterone post-workout can improve strength gains recovery in men. And, as you’ll see below, having enough zinc will give you more energy and improve metabolism.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

10 uses for eggshells


My introduction to recycling came in my grandmother's garden. Granddad was a big-city veterinarian who, years ahead of this century’s homesteading movement, decided to buy a farm and leave urban life behind, turning to the treatment of cows and horses rather than cats and dogs. Reluctant at first to leave her familiar environment, Grandma eventually adapted. In fact she thrived in the country, raising border collies and cultivating her own organic vegetables.
During a summer visit to the farm as a curious five-year-old, I loved to follow Grandma as she tended her garden. When I asked why she was sprinkling “smushed” eggshell around the base of her tomatoes, she explained that it helped the plants to grow. I was amazed by the notion that food – in this case, the fledgling tomatoes – also needed to be fed.
A lot of summers have passed since that July day and the benefit of using eggshells as garden fertilizer is now widely known. In fact, gardeners and green homemakers have discovered many more ways to repurpose this humble item. Here are a few that would make Grandma smile.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is using eggshells in the garden. Whether mixed with your compost pile or deposited directly into the planting hole, crushed eggshells will nourish your fast-growing vegetables with calcium. Addition of this mineral helps prevent blossom-end rot in tomato plants and brown spots in both tomatoes and peppers.
Add nutrients to potting soil
As a would-be farmer limited by the fact that I live in a fair-sized city, I riff on Grandma’s time-tested idea with my houseplants, mixing coarsely broken eggshell into the potting soil. These larger bits break down more slowly and provide drainage as well as nutrients.
Compostable seedling containers
To give garden plants a head start while the weather is still wintry outdoors, sow seeds in eggshell halves with a little earth. The seedlings that sprout may be transplanted directly into your garden, “container” and all.     
Control garden pests
Chunks of eggshell spread in the garden are also an effective slug and cat repellent … due not to any chemical properties but rather to their sharp edges! (Obviously the pieces will need to be replaced as they wear down.)
Clarify liquids
Eggshells don't have to be limited to the garden, however. In the kitchen, eggshell crumbs work to clarify liquids ranging from coffee to soup stock to homemade wine. Whenever you use eggshells for a food-related purpose, it is best to wash them and/or heat in the oven for a few minutes first. (No need to waste electricity or gas to do so. Put a pan full of eggshells in the oven together with your baking.)       
Prevent clogs
Placing chunks of eggshell in your sink strainer will help catch food particles and prevent them from clogging your plumbing. In fact, some folks recommend pouring crushed eggshells directly down the drain to clear your pipes. But be warned that eggshells in your sink drain – or garbage disposal – can do a lot more harm than good.
Scrub pots and pans
A highly touted use for eggshell, as an all-natural scrub for gunky pots and pans, sounds good in theory but has a high potential mess factor (especially in my “mess magnet” household). Make sure you strain out the leftover bits and pieces before draining the dirty water.
Laundry whitener
Another eggshell app is a laundry whitener. Thrown in with your wash, the shells will brighten dingy formerly-whites. Put shell pieces into a closed, tightly woven fabric bag to avoid damage to your washing machine.
Calcium supplements
Did you know you can eat eggshells, too? Eggshells, particularly organic ones, are a good, cheap source of calcium for humans, chickens and dogs. Bake to sterilize and grind into powder. (Check with your vet before giving a puppy calcium supplements. Canines under 9 months can’t excrete excess calcium, which may be very dangerous to normal bone development.) As “people food,” the shells may be soaked in lemon juice or vinegar for enhanced absorption; strain and use the liquid in salad dressing.
Beauty products
Don’t throw out the sludge left from your straining! Smooth it on your skin as a fantastic all-natural facial or hand softener.
Relieve itching and pain
Eggshells have healing properties as well. The liquid that results from macerating eggshells in apple cider vinegar may be used to treat itchiness and other minor skin irritations. Currently, the delicate membrane found just inside the eggshell is being researched for its role in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, osteoporosis and similar disorders.
Laura Firszt originally wrote this story for

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Best Exercises for Developing Speed


The need for speed is a given in sport, now more than ever. Its importance pushes coaches to experiment with speed chutes, plyometrics, resistance running and many other speed training methods. These tools all have their place, but the basics of any speed program should begin in the weightroom.
Before discussing the best weightroom exercises for running faster, let’s be clear that correcting structural imbalances should always take precedence in any athletic fitness training program. Weakness in the vastus medialis oblique, for example, can affect an athlete’s ability not only to perform squats properly but also to run efficiently.
This exception aside, it’s a fact that there is a relationship between muscle mass and running speed. In the article “Running Performance Has a Structural Basis,” published in July 2005 in The Journal of Experimental Biology, the authors looked at the physical characteristics of the world’s fastest 45 runners at eight distances (100 to 10,000 meters) run in international competitions from 1990 to 2003. The study reported that the runners who excelled in the shorter distances “were generally more massive than those in longer ones,” and the runners with the most muscle were those who excelled in the sprint events of 100, 200 and 400 meters.
That being said, here are five great exercises for athletes who need to become faster in their sports.
Squats. Running speed is influenced not only by moving the arms and legs faster, but also by the ability to apply force into the ground – and the single best way to improve the latter ability is to increase lower body strength with heavy squats. In an eight-week study on elite rugby players, subjects who increased their maximal squat by an average of 30 kilos (66 pounds) also saw an increase in their sprinting speed by 6 to 7.6 percent in 5-, 10- and 20-meter sprints.
Power Clean. From an empirical standpoint, strength coaches know the power clean can make athletes faster. A survey involving 137 Division I college coaches found that 85 percent of them used the power clean in training their athletes; in the NFL, the percentage was 88 percent. The power clean increases an athletic capacity that sport scientists call the rate of force development; in other words, it enables athletes to apply their strength rapidly. This was proven in a 2004 study involving 20 Division III college football players. One group performed powerlifting exercises; another group did Olympic lifting exercises such as the power clean. Researchers found that the weightlifting group experienced a “two-fold greater improvement in 40-yard sprint time.”
Push Sleds. Pushing a sled (which can be performed both indoors and outdoors) bridges the gap between the weightroom and the track, such that the exercise closely approximates the positions in sprinting without altering running mechanics to the degree that would occur, for instance, when running while holding weights in your hands or using ankle weights. The key training idea to consider when using a sprint sled is that it should only be used to develop acceleration, which means your distances should not exceed about 20 meters (when the athlete begins to reach an upright sprinting position).
Glute-Ham Raise. Structural imbalances within the muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae) not only can lead to injuries; they also can affect speed. For example, the lower back muscles are involved in transferring force from the legs to the upper body. The glute-ham raise is an exercise that gives you a lot of bang for your buck because it works the glutes, both the hip extension and knee flexion functions of the hamstrings, and even the calves. As a bonus, by adjusting the foot position you can help resolve running technique problems related to structural imbalances between the medial hamstrings (semitendinosus and semimembranosus), which rotate the foot inward, and the lateral hamstrings (biceps femoris), which rotate the foot outward.  Athletes who run with their feet turned excessively outward should perform the glute-ham raise with their feet turned slightly inward to correct that imbalance.
Chin-Up. Working the upper body may seem like an odd way to improve running speed, but it makes sense when you understand that acceleration begins from the upper body. The chin-up develops strength in the upper body as well as in the abdominal muscles to counteract the torque of the lower body.
There is no single best weightroom exercise to improve speed. For best results, it takes a combination of different exercises such as the ones described here. Give these exercises a try for a good start – and a fast finish!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sunburn Resistance Through Diet


Previously in this series, the benefits of sunlight in the form of vitamin D production were discussed along with the ramifications of vitamin D deficiency. Along with vitamin D deficiency, another crucial benefit of sunlight (control of circadian rhythms) has been introduced. To top it all off, here’s another: sunlight on human skin increases nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which is important in regulating blood pressure and reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. Sunlight is essential to health.
The last post also introduced how UV-B radiation, which produces vitamin D, also leads to sunburn which many people believe leads to skin cancer. Three types of skin cancer and their accompanying statistics were reviewed, where it was posited that greater than 99% of all skin cancer cases are not fatal. 75% of melanoma cases, the most fatal of the three types of skin cancer, were shown to be present on parts of the body that are relatively unexposed to UV-B radiation (trunk and thighs as opposed to face and hands). Also, it was shown that melanoma rates have been increasing at an alarming rate over the past 30+ years, while UV radiation exposure rates have, on average, decreased for inhabitants of developed countries. The case was made that UV radiation alone cannot explain the massive increase in skin cancer. Something else must be at play.
It is illogical that a natural source of life-giving radiation (the sun), that we as human animals have been exposed to since the dawn of our species is now most commonly implicated as the source of a disease (skin cancer) that has only recently become proportionally common, while exposure to this radiation source has, on average, been decreasing.
The case has already been made that the sun’s radiation has not significantly changed, and yet we do see skin cancer rates increasing in developed countries. UV radiation has a role in the development of skin cancer, in that it does damage skin cells, but UV radiation has not changed. What has changed is the resistance of our skin to UV radiation. Skin that is the least prepared to receive the critically-important-for-health UV radiation will have the greatest risk of being sunburned, and have a greater risk of developing skin cancer.
As always, with anything health related, there is a context to healthy sunlight exposure. Sun exposure only becomes dangerous when intense sunburns become too easy. As mentioned in the previous post, after receiving a dose of UV radiation, some amount of damage incurs, and skin then produces melanin (read: a tan), which then protects the skin from further damage from UV radiation. Darker-skinned individuals already have high levels of melanin (known as constitutive pigmention), and thus are much less likely to burn to begin with. Thus, forming a tan is one way of preventing damage from UV radiation. Some individuals may be thinking “Well, I don’t tan, so there’s nothing I can do about it”, and there may be truth to that in extreme cases. However, most people can improve their ability to tan, and increase their resistance to the sun in general, with improved dietary practices and sun exposure behaviours.
This post will explore the combination of sun exposure, sunburn resistance and dietary habits that result in the benefits of sunlight exposure, while significantly reducing the dangers.

Sunburn Resistance Through Diet:

It may surprise you that your resistance to sunburn can be influenced by your diet, but from my research and experiences I know this variable is significant. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic-food’ that will instantly turn your skin into a suit of sun-blocking armour, but there are a few eating habits that can tip the scales in your favour and help you reap the benefits of sunlight exposure without getting fried. As implied in the last sentence, increasing your resistance to sunburn requires improvement in eating habits, so the results will take some time once the changes are made, but will be well worth it in the long run. According to Jean Krutmann and Philippe Humbert, authors of Nutrition for Healthy Skin, making these dietary changes will produce more sunburn-resistant skin in about 8 to 10 weeks.
So, where to begin? To start off, below is an infographic that summarizes everything I’ve found on this subject. Then, for the science enthusiasts, below that are all the nitty gritty details on the subject. Let’s hit it!
sunburn resistance through diet, sunburn, nutrition

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Why You Love Avocados and Other Foods You Used to Hate


he other day, I was luxuriating in a delicious sandwich slathered with goat cheese, while at the same time mourning all the lost years of my youth during which I believed I didn’t like goat cheese. Same goes for avocados, which I only discovered as an adult, and pickles, too. (The dismantling of my anti-pickle stance was swiftly followed by an appreciation for picklebacks, which I highly recommend.) 
And it’s probably happened to you, too. You grow up, and you realize that many of the foods you avoided as a kid are actually kind of awesome. There are a few theories as to why this happens, explained Martha Pelchat, whose self-explanatory title at Monell Chemical Senses Center is “food preference expert,” but one thing is clear: The way you perceive a certain food changes once you get used to it. Keep trying a food, and eventually you’ll probably start to like it.
Pelchat explained in an email to Science of Us:
Familiarity is probably the major influence on food selection. All other things being equal, people prefer a familiar food to a novel one. Some of this is probably what psychologists call "mere exposure" - you get used to it, and it becomes less threatening.
In a claim that will surprise no one, Pelchat noted that kids hate vegetables and love sugar. But the reason why is interesting. Children instinctively know that sugar means energy, and until recently (evolutionarily speaking), kids needed every bit of energy they could get ahold of in order to grow. But when their bones stop growing, Pelchat said, kids start to become (somewhat) less sugar-obsessed.
We also taste things more intensely when we’re younger. As we age, our sense of smell weakens, which in turn changes the way we taste our food. So my increasingly sucky sense of smell could partially explain why I’m no longer grossed out by goat cheese, Pelchat explained. “Goat is a smell. Of course, aging could have two opposite impacts on goat cheese perception. If one can't smell much, the goaty flavor (really a smell) decreases and goat cheese is just cheese,” she said. “Alternatively, with loss of olfaction, one's diet seems bland and that strong smell provides some welcome stimulation.”
It seems we’ve discovered a bright side of aging: Your senses may be deteriorating, but a newfound appreciation of Brussels sprouts and hoppy beer and flavorful cheese as a tradeoff? I’ll take it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Kitchn's Guide to Storing Fruits and Vegetables

A Few General Guidelines

  • Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the "one bad apple" adage.)
  • For Vegetables: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
  • For Fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
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