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

Healthy Recipes from the US Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

pesto polenta

Healthy Recipes for a Healthy Life

The holiday season offers all kinds of tempting treats. You can still enjoy meals with family and friends, even if you are watching what you eat. Consider adding one of these delicious and lighter options to your menu!

Check out more recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

For example,
Thumbnail image of the Deliciously Healthy Dinners cookbook cover.Deliciously Healthy Dinners contains 75 recipes influenced by Asian, Latino, Mediterranean, and American cuisine that are good for your heart and taste great too.

 

 

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | 1 Comment

Natural Resources Defense Council: Smarter Living

Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council is environmental action group of 1.3 million members including more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

The home page tabs provide access to News, Issues, Policies, Smarter Living options, and more.

The Smarter Living sections  include a wide range of resources and information, including

Related Resources

  • Household Products Databases – This database links over 8,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by the manufacturers and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients
  • ToxNet – Databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Expert: Pairing some foods packs big benefits

Sass recommends eating whole grains with onions or garlic to fight inflammation.

Sass recommends eating whole grains with onions or garlic to fight inflammation.  (CBS)

From the 12 April 2011 CBS Early Show Web site item 

Pairing up certain foods is natural, such as peanut butter and jelly. But, according to registered dietician Cynthia Sass, combining some foods can actually make them much more beneficial to your health than eating them separately.
Sass, author of “Cinch: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches” discussed some of those great food combos she says pack powerful benefits.

The article describes the benefits of and gives examples of the following pairings

  • Salsa and guacamole
  • Beans and Red Peppers
  • Broccoli and tomatoes
  • Apples and cranberries
  • Green Tea and Black Pepper
  • Whole Grains with Garlic or Onions

April 17, 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

Coffee, energy drinkers beware: Many mega-sized drinks loaded with sugar, MU nutrition expert says

From the February 3, 2011 Eureka news alert

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Starbucks recently announced a new-sized 31-ounce drink, the “Trenta,” which will be in stores this spring. The mega-sized coffee joins the ranks of other energy drinks that can pack plenty of caffeine and calories. Ellen Schuster, a University of Missouri nutrition expert, says that Americans should be wary of extra calories and sugar in the quest for bigger, bolder drinks.

“The sheer size of new coffee and energy drinks increases consumers’ potential for unhealthy calorie and sugar consumption,” said Schuster, state specialist for MU Extension and the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “A ‘Trenta’-sized Starbuck’s lemonade could include 21 teaspoons of sugar – much more than should be consumed at one time, or in one day.”

Excess sugar is common in many prepared beverages. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who consume drinks with added sugars consume more total calories, and studies have found that drinking sweetened beverages is related to weight gain.

Health experts at the Mayo Clinic note that moderate consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages is unlikely to cause harm, but large quantities in excess of 500 mg, or more than four cups of coffee, can cause difficulty sleeping, irritability, restlessness, stomach problems and irregular heartbeat. Especially of concern is caffeine consumption among children and adolescents.

“Energy and coffee beverages are subject to the same nutrition rules as other foods and drinks; it’s all about moderation,” Schuster said. “Ideally, it’s best to avoid drinking calories, because drinks leave you less full than solid foods. By eating calories in the form of high-calorie, high-sugar drinks, people crowd out other nutritious foods. However, like any indulgence, it’s fine to order a ‘Trenta’ drink as an occasional treat.”

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These tips are based on findings from MU research conducted throughout the year. For more information, visit: missourifamilies.org and nutritionmythbusters.blogspot.com. The research is conducted through MU Extension and the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology – a joint department in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU.

 

A few other recent nutrition related press releases


During the cold winter months, Minnesotans know how to stay warm. They also know how to stay healthy! Try one (or all) of these recipes from the Minnesota state government this month.


February 4, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recipes in Recognition of Fruits and Veggies -More Matters Month

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted some festive fall-inspired recipes in recognition of Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month.

A sampling

**Turkey-apple gyros
**Curried butternut apple soup
Autumn vegetable succotash
Spicy apple-filled squash

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | | Leave a comment