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Today is April 2

Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

The health benefits of peanut butter

Peanut butter can be found in kitchen cabinets across the globe. And whether you’re fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or prefer peanut butter smeared on toast, chances are you can find a jar of this beloved spread in your pantry.

While flavor might be the foremost reason people keep jars of peanut butter in their pantries, the nutritional value of peanut butter should not be overlooked. So just how healthy is peanut butter? The following are some notable reasons to pick up a jar of peanut butter and add more peanuts to your diet on your next trip to the grocery store.

  • Peanut butter is loaded with antioxidants. A study from researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway found that peanuts contribute significantly to dietary intake of antioxidants. That’s a notable benefit, as the body needs more antioxidants than it can provide on its own. Antioxidants are chemicals that interact with free radicals and neutralize them, thereby preventing the damage they can cause. The National Cancer Institute notes that cell damage caused by free radicals may play a role in the development of cancer.

 

  • Peanut butter can benefit your cholesterol levels. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology noted that peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and phytosterols that block the absorption of cholesterol from diet. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is an essential component of cardiovascular health.

 

  • Peanut butter may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that numerous studies have shown that people who routinely consume nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who rarely eat nuts.

 

It’s important that consumers recognize that the aforementioned benefits largely refer to peanuts and not necessarily peanut butter. As a result, when choosing peanut butter, shoppers should not consider all jars one and the same.

When shopping, consumers should look for peanut butters made from just peanuts. The more ingredients listed on the label, the less healthy the peanut butter likely is. The American Heart Association notes that a diet that’s high in sodium can increase one’s risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, so look for a peanut butter that’s unsalted. The sodium content of some peanut butters may be very high, which may only negate the many health benefits of eating peanut butter.

Sugar is another ingredient to watch out for when buying peanut butter. Some manufacturers may include extra sugar to boost the flavor profile of their peanut butters, so keep an eye out for sugar content, which tends to be high in flavored varieties of peanut butter.

Peanut butter can be a nutritious addition to anyone’s diet. But peanut butter should be eaten in moderation and consumers should recognize that not all peanut butters provide the nutritional value they’re looking for.

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Why Good Friday is “good”

Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, which is the Friday before Easter Sunday. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was flogged and abused in other ways en route to his crucifixion, which ultimately ended with his death. So why would such a day ever be commemorated with the word “good”?

There are different theories as to how the word “good” came to be used in connection with the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. In a 2014 article for the BBC, a senior editor with the Oxford English Dictionary, Fiona MacPherson, noted that the adjective “good” has traditionally been used to designate day or season in which religious observance is held. So in that context, “good” is not used in the way many people use it today.

According to Christianity.com, the word “good” might be the result of an older name once used to commemorate Good Friday, which Christians believe is one of the holiest days of the year. Christianity.com notes that Good Friday was once referred to as “God’s Friday.” That name, the theory suggests, gradually evolved into “Good Friday.”

Many practicing Christians do not question the name Good Friday, feeling that the day, while one of solemn commemoration, also marks the beginning of the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a celebration that culminates two days later on Easter Sunday.

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Autism Awareness

Get involved with autism awareness efforts

Autism spectrum disorder has the potential to touch just about anyone. The World Health Organization estimates that one in 160 children across the globe has ASD, while some well-controlled studies have reported that figures are substantially higher than that.

ASD affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, meaning just about any family can be affected.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its biennial update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children. The update was based on analysis of medical records, and where available, educational records of eight-year-old children from 11 monitoring sites across the United States. In a two-year period, the new estimate indicated a 15 percent increase in ASD prevalence.

Understandably, anyone who has been affected by ASD wants to learn more about what individuals can do to advocate for high quality services for those with ASD. The autism information group Autism Speaks says more work is needed to understand the increased prevalence and the complex medical needs that often accompany ASD. There are many different and effective ways to become more involved in the autism community.

Educate children

Many schools have integrated classrooms where children who have ASD work alongside their peers. Others may have specialized programs for those who need one-on-one support. Either way, the goal is to introduce children to ASD when they are young, as many have friends or classmates with ASD. Helping to dispel myths about ASD and encouraging support and compassion can improve relationships during childhood.

Fundraise

Research into causation as well as treatment options and interventions for ASD can be expensive. That makes fundraising a necessary component. Individuals can participate in many organized fundraisers, such as walks, runs, rides, and other activities. However, enterprising people also can create their own fundraisers or ones unique to their own needs.

Support others

Those who do not have someone with ASD in their immediate family but know a relative, friend or neighbor with ASD can be a listening ear, a person to rally at events or advocacy meetings, or just a touchstone when a little extra support is needed. People who own businesses can support adults with ASD in the community through program’s like the Organization for Autism Research’s Hire Autism Initiative.

Autism spectrum disorder affects many different people. During the month of April and throughout the entire year, there are many ways for people to spread the word about ASD and support ASD research.

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Did you know?

Easter wells are colorful, traditional decorations in Germany and Franconian Switzerland. The custom of Osterbrunnen, which started in the early 20th century, includes decorating public fountains and wells with Easter eggs. The tradition begins on Good Friday and continues until two weeks after Easter. According to the Bavarian tourism site www.bavaria.by, before the wells are decorated, they are first cleaned in a ceremony known as “Brunnen fegen,” which loosely translates to “sweeping the well.” Once cleansed, the well is dressed and decorated. The practice traces back to the belief in water as a life-giving force. Some infants are even baptized in the well’s water, and others drink the Easter water as a protection against illness.