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Today is March 28

Reading Aloud to Children

In the landmark 1986 review Becoming a Nation of Readers, the Commission on Reading, called reading aloud to children “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading.” The best time to begin reading books with children is when they are infants—babies as young as six weeks old enjoy being read to and looking at pictures. By age two or three, children begin to develop an awareness of printed letters and words. They see adults around them reading, writing, and using printed words for many purposes. Toddlers and preschoolers are especially ready to learn from adults reading to and with them.

Types of Books for Reading Aloud

Alphabet books. Alphabet books usually feature the capital and lowercase forms of a letter on each page and one or more pictures of something that begins with the most common sound that the letter represents.

Counting (or number) books. In these books, each page usually presents one number and shows a corresponding number of items (two monkeys, five dinosaurs, and so forth).

Concept books. These books are designed to teach particular concepts that children need to know in order to succeed in school. Concept books may teach about colors, shapes, sizes (big, little), or opposites (up, down). They may focus on concepts (farm or zoo animals, families around the world, trucks, or places to live).

Nursery rhymes. These books often contain rhymes and repeated verses, which is why they are easy to remember and recite and why they appeal to children.

Repetitious stories and pattern books. In these predictable books, a word or phrase is repeated throughout the story, forming a pattern. After the first few pages, your children may be able to “read along” because they know the pattern. This ability will let them experience the pleasure of reading.

Traditional literature. Traditional literature includes fairy tales, folktales, fables, myths, and legends from around the world and across the ages of time. Through these beloved stories, children become familiar with many different times, cultures, and traditions. Some stories, such as Cinderella, vary slightly from culture to culture and it is interesting to compare their differences.

Wordless picture books. These books tell stories through pictures, without using words. Wordless picture books give children the opportunity to tell stories themselves as they “read,” an activity that most children enjoy. In telling their stories, children develop language skills; they also get a sense of the sequence of events in stories.

For more information visit https://www.ed.gov/

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Black Forest Cake Day

Slow Cooker Black Forest Recipe

Ingredients

1 box Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ chocolate fudge cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box SAVE $

1/2cup butter, melted

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Make cake batter as directed on box.

In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, pour melted butter. Pour in cake batter (do not stir). Add cherry pie filling, pouring into center.

Cover; cook on low heat setting 2 to 4 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm in bowls topped with whipped topping.

For more recipe visit https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes.

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National Triglycerides Day

Cold “Heart” Facts About the Foods You’re Eating

By Mckenzie Ellis

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke combined) kills about 2,300 a day. Obesity in both youth and adults is at an all-time high and youth are being diagnosed with heart disease earlier than ever. Consider the facts:

Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.

Heart attacks affect more people every year than the population of Dallas, Texas.

83% believe that heart attacks can be prevented.

72% of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.

58% put no effort into improving their heart health.

In order to prevent cardiovascular disease, you should make healthy lifestyle choices such as getting adequate physical activity, maintaining heart-healthy diet and managing blood pressure. You should also take the time to have the following numbers checked:

Blood Pressure

Cholesterol (with LDL & HDL)

Triglycerides

Blood sugar

Body Mass Index

And as you might have suspected the four-letter word SALT has a little something to do with a heart healthy diet and lifestyle.

Salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.

Salt in food

Salt is found in almost every food we eat. Some foods contain very low amounts of naturally occurring sodium, like fruit and vegetables. Manufactured foods can contain high amounts of sodium when manufacturers use salt as a flavor enhancer or preservative. What most people don’t realize is that more than 75% of sodium consumption comes from processed foods and eating out – not the saltshaker.

8 Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

Consuming less sodium may be important to help slash blood pressure levels, but eating more of these foods is good for your heart and arteries, too. ⁠⁠

Spinach: Many leafy greens, including everything from arugula and kale to spinach and collard greens, contain potassium and magnesium, which are key minerals to control blood pressure. A potassium-rich diet helps the body become more efficient at flushing out excess sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Magnesium also helps promote healthy blood flow.

Broccoli: This cruciferous veggie is another good source of the blood pressure-regulating minerals magnesium, calcium and potassium. ⁠

⁠Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds: Incorporating pumpkin pulp or seeds into a healthy diet may help reduce blood pressure levels, according to a recent study by the American Heart Association.⁠

⁠Purple Potatoes: A daily dose of purple potatoes served plain may help your heart. That is, if you steer clear of the deep fryer and fatty toppings. Researchers say the blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of antioxidants found naturally in potatoes.

Dandelion Greens: Dandelion may lower blood pressure due to their diuretic effect and potassium content. However, very little formal research has been conducted to support this claim.⁠⁠

Shiitake Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms are rich in a chemical called eritadenine, which seems to block the activity of an enzyme that constricts blood vessels.⁠⁠

Beans: A daily cup of peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, or beans can keep your blood pressure in check and even lower it. Legumes and beans are big on fiber and can help ward off coronary heart disease. ⁠Just make sure you buy dried beans or no-salt added canned beans.⁠⁠

White Fish:  Research has shown that consuming fish that has a high omega-3 content can help lower blood pressure.

Mckenzie is the founder and owner of Low Salt Kitchen a food blog specializing in low sodium cooking. She uses real food, bursting with real flavors, just without all the salt. She is an accomplished Marketing and Sales professional turned chef who is based in New Orleans, Louisiana and Denver, Colorado. Mckenzie is a self-taught cook who took on the challenge of cooking with very low sodium after her husband was diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease, a rare inner-ear disorder.

Mckenzie started her Low Salt Kitchen blog because she wanted to share the knowledge she has gained over the past ten years in the kitchen. She wanted to provide support to all having to go on a low sodium diet and know they can still eat the food they love like pizza, Mexican food and Asian cuisine. She loves nothing better than creating recipes and inspiring others to follow the Low Salt Movement. Mckenzie has two toddlers at home and considers her children the toughest critics in the kitchen.

For more information visit https://blog.ochsner.org/.