Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Berry Good For You

           Cullman County is an agricultural hub mostly known for sweet potato and chicken farming.  However, as the months become warmer, the strawberry becomes a celebrated commodity among producers and consumers in this close-knit community. The strawberry has a pretty impressive résumé when you lay out all of it’s known health benefits. You may not have to be convinced to eat this super fruit, but here are some heath and wellness facts about strawberries that could surprise you!

            •Strawberries protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and guard against cancer!

            •Strawberries contain vitamins, fiber, anti-oxidants, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, Folic acid, and amino acids.  

            •Vitamin C in strawberries is not only considered an immune booster, but it helps to ward off histamine that causes runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing fits. One study has shown that vitamin C supplementation decreased histamine levels by 38%, while other studies have shown that vitamin C deficiency can send blood levels of histamine soaring. Humans produce an enzyme to keep histamine at a tolerable level, and increasing vitamin C intake can help aid in synthesis of this essential enzyme

            •Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside, and they have an average of 200 seeds per fruit.

            •Their high levels of nitrate have been shown to increase blood and oxygen flow to muscles. So, those who eat strawberries tend to have more stamina when working out compared to those who do not consume strawberries. 

            If you would like to enjoy the multitude of health benefits strawberries have to offer, come out and grab a basket at the Festhalle Farmer’s Market. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 2016 Strawberry Festival! The event will be held May 6th and 7th at Depot Park in downtown Cullman. Come enjoy fresh strawberries, live music, craft vendors, and kid’s games! For more details and information about this event, visit our website, cullmanrecreation.org!

Kayti Persall
Community Wellness Coordinator

Cullman City Parks & Recreation

Monday, April 11, 2016

Run, Catch, Throw, "Tackle"

            In the last few years there have been many health controversies surrounding football. These concerns have trickled down from the NFL to local youth footballs programs. Many parents wonder, “is it worth the risk?”. If your child is jumping at the chance to play football, but you feel it is unsafe, there could be an alternative. Youth flag football programs are becoming more popular across the country. Parents feel that it is safer than traditional tackle football, especially with children under the age of fourteen. If you are on the fence, here are some points to add to your pro and con list.
            Kids are not miniature adults. By the age of four, the heads of kids are 90% of adult size. However, their necks are much weaker than that of an adult. This combination can create danger and health risks. When a child takes a blow from falling or being struck in the helmet, it is more difficult to keep the head steady. The result is a greater force to the brain from being jerked inside the skull. There is very little information that has been gathered regarding long-term effects of repetitive head traumas among young children. In recent news, professional football player’s brains have been examined after death and have tested positive for degenerative brain disease, CTE. Just like anything in life, there is always some amount of risk. Youth flag football is going to be safer. However, it is football, so contact is going to happen. Your child is just as likely to have an injury, but it may not necessarily be as serious as a blow to the head or neck.
            Most importantly children just want to play sports and have fun! Many parents do see the importance of getting their children involved in team sports, but above all want them to be safe. If your child has the desire to play football, but you don’t feel comfortable with them playing youth tackle football, get them involved with a flag football program! During playing time your child is learning to play football in its simplest form, and run routes to be in the position to get the flag.
            For more information regarding the flag football program at Cullman City Parks and Recreation, contact the Civic Center at 256-734-9157 or visit us online at cullmanrecreation.org!

Kayti Persall
Community Wellness Coordinator
Cullman City Parks & Recreation

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stop, Shop, and Buy Seasonal Produce

Cullman City Parks & Recreation’s Farmer's Market at the Festhalle Market Platz, located on Arnold St. and 1st Ave, will have its season opening on Saturday, April 16th, 2016, from 7am-2pm. Featuring the freshest produce of the season, including: strawberries, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn, and much more! So why should you stop and buy locally grown fruits and vegetables? Here are a few reasons you should make the choice to stop and shop!
1. Support Local Farmers
Cullman has a major heritage as an agricultural center across the state with agriculture being the number one industry in Cullman County. Our local farmer's work hard through the seasons to produce some of the most delicious local fruits and vegetables in the area, and supporting the number one industry in the county is good for everyone. Supporting our farmers supports our entire community and local economy.

2. Fresher Produce
With produce available that is picked off the vine just hours before being brought to market, the freshness of your purchases cannot be beat. Most fruits and vegetables in grocery stores are grown miles away in another state or even another country, picked, and shipped here to Alabama. By the time produce arrives to the store, it may have already been 7-12 days; in addition, grocery stores will keep produce on their shelves for a number of days after receiving merchandise. We guarantee you will taste the difference.

3. More Nutritious Options
Because most produce can be weeks old when purchased in the grocery stores, much of the nutritional value is lost. In fact, the longer produce sits around, the more vitamins and nutrients are lost before consumption. Local produce picked only hours before purchasing will have the maximum value of nutrition for you and your family.

4. Know the Source of Your Produce
In some cases, you may never know where your produce comes from in the grocery store. Federal and state agencies are beginning to require mass producers to disclose what processes, chemicals, fertilizer, or pesticides have been used on your produce. With the Festhalle Farmer's Market, our farmers are on site to answer any questions that you might have about their produce.

5. Connect with the Community
The farmer's market is not just an exchange of fresh produce, but also an exchange of good times and memories. Our local farmers are part of our community, and the market is a great place to see old friends, bring your kids for a fun time, and enjoy new friendships from across Cullman County.

If you are interested in the Farmer's Market, don't miss out on information regarding all these special activities and offerings, visit us online at www.cullmanrecreation.org.

Waid Harbison 
Marketing, Programs, & Events Coordinator
Cullman City Parks & Recreation