Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

DASH diet – news story, recipes, and a systematic review

Recently US News and World Report ranked the DASH diet as the best diet overall for the 8th year in a row. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . Government funded researchers developed DASH to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but the diet also has proven highly effective in lowering blood cholesterol.

Image of an empanapita
Empanadas are a great staple of Latino cuisine. Empanapitas, a new take with pita bread, are a DASH healthier, but just as tasty.NHLBI

High blood pressure is the most common chronic condition worldwide. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, affects 1 billion people, and accounts for 1 in 8 deaths each year.
And according to the  NIH news release “dietary interventions can be as effective as – or more effective than – antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals”

The  NIH news release states that “DASH is not a fad diet, but a healthy eating plan that supports long-term lifestyle changes. It is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meats, beans, and nuts. It is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. However, it calls for a reduction in high fat red meat, sweets, and sugary beverages.”

Scientific evidence seems to back the claims of the DASH diet.  A recent systematic review thoroughly analyzed 34 news reports investigating diet quality with mortality.  Diets were scored using three indexes – including DASH.  High scoring diets had a “significant reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease by 22%, 22%, 16%, 18%, and 15%, respectively.”

Interested in learning more about the DASH diet?
Great description with tips may be found here

Many recipes may be found here 

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January 4, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

We Can – A National Child Obesity Prevention Program

We Can, Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition
We Can!
 is a national education program designed to give parents and communities ways to help kids stay at a healthy weight, can help your family avoid excess pounds. From the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Get tips on choosing low-calorie snacks, getting active, and cooking fun, healthy meals.

The home page has links to

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Nutrition, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutrition and Healthy Eating from the Mayo Clinic (& additional related Web sites)

Mayo Clinic
Nutrition and healthy eating 
is just one of many Healthy Lifestyle topics which provide information and tools for the public.

The Mayo Clinic staff have vetted materials on nutrition and healthy eating in the following areas

  • Nutrition Basics  with overviews on healthy diets, healthy cooking, and nutritional supplements
  • In Depth coverage of topics in Nutrition basics as the new dietary guidelines, carbohydrates, dietary fats, specific diets (as the Mediterranean diet), and menu options
  • Multimedia links to images, interactive graphics, videos, and slideshows
  • Expert blog with tips by registered dieticians and nurses on topics like kitchen organization, meal planning, and ideas for healthy salads
  • Resources with links to Web sites on nutrition, cooking, menus, and  shopping strategies
  • Web Site of the Week: Nutrition and healthy eating (
  • Whole Grains, Fiber, Protein And Almonds Help Manage Hunger Pains (Medical News Today, April 2011)
  • Live Well & Live Longer With Foods For Healthy Aging(Medical News Today, April 2011)”The tips below provide a starting point that can help you focus on foods for key parts of the body that are important to healthy aging:– Bones: String cheese is not just for the young. Add calcium to your diet by snacking on a stick of string cheese when hunger strikes.

    — Muscles: For a quick and easy snack, look for a nutrition bar with added soy protein or add a packet of soy or whey protein to your favorite smoothie.

    — Eyes: Punch up your intake of the eye-popping nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin by making a spinach salad with slices of oranges. Many multivitamin and mineral dietary supplements also include lutein.

    — Heart: Popcorn is a great source of whole grains. Keep a few mini-bags in your desk drawer to heat up for a quick, low-calorie snack at the office. Also, try spicing up your popcorn with garlic powder and cinnamon, or rosemary and parmesan cheese.

    — Mind: Salmon or tuna that is canned in water or in a shelf-stable pouch can make easy and affordable meals; add a few tablespoons of olive oil, season with pepper and thyme to enjoy on top of whole grain crackers or wrap with tomatoes in a lettuce leaf.”

Related Resources
Aim for a Healthy Weight

Aim for a Healthy Weight can help you learn how to reach and maintain a healthy weight by taking small steps to change your lifestyle. Find tips for eating well at home and on the road, and for becoming more physically active. (US NIH)
WIN (Weight-control Information Network) - An information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
NIH’s Weight-control Information Network provides science-based information on obesity, physical activity, and weight control.

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

As the school year gets underway, parents and teachers are focused on reducing child obesity. FDA nutrition expert Shirley Blakely, a registered dietitian, says using the Nutrition Facts and list of ingredient on prepared foods are the keys to healthy eating.

Excerpts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web page Nutrition Basics Help Fight Child Obesity

As you head down the supermarket aisle, Blakely says you should zero-in on two things:

  • the Nutrition Facts label—tells the number of calories and percentage of a day’s worth of nutrients in one serving
  • the ingredients on the label of all prepared foods—lists every ingredient that went into the product, with the predominant ingredient first, the next most prominent second, and so on in descending order

Ingredients in prepared foods are listed in descending order of predominance. If the cereal your kids like has some type of grain listed first, that’s a good sign. But if fructose, high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose—in other words, sugar—is listed first, you’d best leave that item on the store shelf because added sugars are taking the place of other, more nutritious ingredients.

And sugar isn’t always an additive. Some foods—fruits, for example—are naturally sweet without adding any sugar at all. If you check the Nutrition Facts label on canned or dried fruits that have no added sugar, you’ll still see sugars listed. That’s because the sugars in pineapple, raisins, prunes, and other fruits occur naturally….

Blakely also says parents and kids should pay attention to portion sizes. Her advice: put just one serving on each person’s plate. And make sure everyone in the family knows how to use the Nutrition Facts label to guide their food choices. Blakely says there are three things everyone should check when they read the label:

Serving size—one container isn’t necessarily one serving; make sure you’re eating only one serving by pre-measuring your food and eating it from a plate or bowl instead of out of the container.

Percent Daily Value—tells what percentage of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient is in one serving of a food. Based on the amount of each nutrient recommendation for one day, 5 percent or less is low; 20 percent or more is high.

Nutrients—try to get 20 percent or more of protein, fiber, and some essential vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C and calcium) in a single serving; but limit your intake of saturated fats and sodium to 5 percent or less per serving of food. Strive for 0 trans fat, or trans fatty acids—this harmful fat raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers your good cholesterol (HDL).

Good nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being healthy. For more information about how to live healthier, go to!

Some additional child nutrition Web sites and Web pages



October 28, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Diet May Trim Diabetes Risk

From a Reuters Health Information press release (October 14, 2010)

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Older adults who stick with a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in plant-based fats may help lower their risk of type 2 diabetes — even without counting calories or shedding weight, new research hints.

In a study of 418 older Spanish adults, researchers found that those instructed to follow a Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop diabetes over four years than those instructed to follow a low-fat diet — about 10 percent developed the disease, versus 18 percent in the low-fat group. And weight loss did not appear necessary to gain the benefit.

The findings, reported in the journal Diabetes Care, may sound too good to be true.

But they back up previous work by the same researchers showing that the Mediterranean diet, even without weight loss, appeared to curb the risk of metabolic syndrome — a collection of risk factors for diabetes that includes abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar and triglycerides.

However, even if the eating pattern brings benefits in the absence of weight loss, that does not negate the importance of regular exercise or calorie-consciousness, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association told Reuters Health.

For further information on diabetes, consider starting with the MedlinePlus topic Diabetes

For further information on the Mediterranean diet, consider starting with the Mayo Clinic Web page Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart-healthy diet option and the American Heart Association Web page Mediterranean diet.

Remember, consult with your (state licensed) health care practitioners if you have any health concerns, including diet changes.


October 18, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment


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