Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Water With Meals May Encourage Wiser Choices

From the 16 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

…Older participants favored the combination of soda served with salty, calorie-dense foods rather than soda and vegetables. Preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompanied by a sweetened beverage.

“Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks,” said Cornwell, the Edwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing in the Lundquist College of Business at the UO. “This begins early through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by many restaurants. Our simple recommendation is to serve water with all meals. Restaurants easily could use water as their default drink in kids’ meal combos and charge extra for other drink alternatives.”

Serving water, McAlister said, could be a simple and effective dietary change to help address the nation’s growing obesity problem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases in young adults and a rise in health-care costs in general. Drinking water with meals, Cornwell said, also would reduce dehydration. While estimates of dehydration vary by sources, many estimates suggest that 75 percent of adult Americans are chronically dehydrated.

From an early age, Cornwell said, children learn to associate sweet, high-calorie drinks such as colas with salty and fatty high-calorie-containing foods like French fries.

“While this combining seems as normal as rainfall in Northwest winters, when we look cross-culturally we can see that food-and-drink combinations are developed preferences,” she said. “If the drink on the table sets the odds against both adults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water.” …

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Home is where the healthy meal is

New study finds home setting nurtures better food choices

Can a cozy dining table and nice music prompt people to reach for the greens and go light on dessert?

From the 28 July 2011 Eureka news alert

So suggests a new study probing why people tend to eat more-nutritious meals at home than away from home. The findings, based on data from 160 women who reported their emotional states before and after meals, add to mounting evidence that psychological factors may help override humans’ wired-in preference for high-fat, sugary foods.

“Over the course of evolution in a world of food scarcity, humans and animals alike have been biologically programmed to elicit more powerful food reward responses to high-caloric foods” than to less-fattening fare, the study notes. Given those hard-wired urges, it may not be enough to understand that broccoli is better for the waistline than French fries. Home is known to be where people feel most content, and the positive emotions often associated with home-cooked meals may be part of the recipe for a healthy diet, the researchers indicate.

The findings, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that people who are in a good mood at home tend to prepare healthier meals – and feel more emotionally rewarded after eating them. That cycle of positive reinforcement was more pronounced at home than elsewhere.

The report, by Prof. Ji Lu of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Catherine Huet, and Prof.. Laurette Dubé of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, concludes that “the home is a privileged environment that nurtures healthy eating and in which healthier food choices trigger and are triggered by more positive emotions.”

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

Tasty Healthy Family Meals

Tasty Healthy Family Meals

Keep the Beat™ Recipes: Deliciously Healthy Eating

From the NIH (National Institute of Health) February 4 press release

Nutritious and tasty meals can be easy to prepare for your family. Get some ideas and inspiration from a new NIH cookbook. Keep the Beat Recipes: Deliciously Healthy Family Meals has more than 40 kid-tested recipes featuring a variety of healthy entrees, side dishes and snacks that parents and children can enjoy together. The free cookbook also offers time-saving tips and helpful resources for busy families.

The recipes were developed by David Kamen, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef/instructor and father of 2. The dishes are based on heart-healthy principles from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Recipes include nutrition analysis and provide guidance for preparing meals that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.

“With a healthy approach to cooking, families learn to enjoy the taste of heart-healthy meals that can help lower their risk of heart disease and other conditions,” says NHLBI Acting Director Dr. Susan B. Shurin.

The cookbook and individual recipes are available on the Keep the Beat: Deliciously Healthy Eating website athttp://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/healthyeating. Or call the NHLBI Health Information Center at 301-592-8573.

 

A few links to recipes at this Web site


 

 

 

 

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Processed, Fatty Foods May Dumb Down Your Kids: Study

Processed, Fatty Foods May Dumb Down Your Kids: Study
But healthful diet for toddlers can boost intelligence later on, researchers say

HealthDay news image

From a February 8, 2011 Health Day news item

MONDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) — Feeding children lots of fatty, sugary and processed foods may lower their IQ, while a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients appears to boost it, British researchers say.

This is particularly true during the first three years of life when the brain is developing rapidly, the study authors explained. They speculate that good nutrition may promote brain growth and cognitive development.

“We have found some evidence to suggest that a diet associated with increasing consumption of foods that are high in fat, sugar and processed foods in early childhood is associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood,” said lead researcher Kate Northstone, a research fellow in the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol.

A more health-conscious diet was associated with small increases in IQ, she said.

Children should be encouraged to eat healthy foods from an early age, she said. “We know this is important for physical growth and development, but it may also be important for mental ability,” she added.

For the study, published online Feb. 7 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Northstone’s team collected data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children on 3,966 children born in 1991 and 1992.

The children’s parents had answered questions about their kids’ diets at age 3, 4, 7 and 8.5 years. The children’s IQs were measured using the standard Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children when they were 8.5 years old.

The researchers identified three basic diets: “processed,” crammed with fats, sugar and convenience foods; a “traditional” diet high in meats and vegetables; and a “health conscious” diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, salads, fish, rice and pasta.

Children who ate a diet high in processed foods at age 3 had a lower IQ at 8.5 years than kids with a healthy diet. For every one point increase in processed foods consumption, they lost 1.67 points in IQ. Conversely, every one point increase in healthy eating translated into a 1.2 point increase in IQ, the researchers found.

The key seemed to be the diet at age 3, since diet at 4 and 7 seemed to have no effect on IQ, the research team noted. However, to truly understand the effect of diet on children’s intelligence, further studies are needed, they said.

Commenting on the study, Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist and exercise physiologist in Fairfield, Conn., said that “most of us do not realize that the foods we eat have direct consequences on brain growth, function and performance.”

When a child’s diet consists primarily of high-calorie foods that are low in the nutrients they need (such as healthy fats, vitamins and minerals), their brains don’t get the compounds necessary to develop and function properly, Heller said. “This can have a series of deleterious effects, including decreased cognitive ability, poor behavior and social skills,” she said.

“Fast and junk food seem like an easy and affordable option for busy parents, but defaulting to high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods is putting their children’s health and future at risk,” Heller said.

Cooking easy, healthy meals for the family will give “children’s brains a boost in essential nutrients needed for healthy development and improved cognitive skills,” she added.

SOURCES: Kate Northstone, Ph.D., research fellow, department of social medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, England; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, Fairfield, Conn.; Feb. 7, 2011, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health**

 

Go to the Tasty, Healthy Family Meals posting for great recipes. Or go directly to the online  meals cookbook.

** For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here


 


February 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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