Monday, January 28, 2013

What's making news in nutrition this month?

Berries may cut heart attack risk in women

The Journal of American Heart Association reported women who ate a minimum of 3 servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had 1/3 of the heart attacks, compared to those who ate berries once a month or less. The results were gathered from food questionnaires and adjusted for other risk factors for heart attacks such as age, blood pressure, family history, weight, smoking, exercise and alcohol intake.

The reason is likely due to the high flavonoid (antioxidant) content of blueberries and strawberries. This research supports the Australia Dietary Guidelines to include 2 serves of fruit each day. Why not try making one of these serves of fruit blueberries or strawberries?

Australia's Healthy Weight Week

20-27 Jan was Australia's Healthy Weight Week, run by the Dietitians Association of Australia, to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This years event focused on fad free diets. Steer away from diets that promise rapid weight loss. A realistic and healthy weight loss goal is 0.5-1kg per week.

Fad free diets encourage starting the day with breakfast, including all five food groups and filling up on low kilojoule/ high nutrient foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts and low fat dairy.

What is the DASH diet?

The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The US News & World Report recently ranked the DASH diet as the number 1 diet. Although the diet is designed to lower blood pressure; it is also a well balanced diet for people in general. The principles of the DASH diet are to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, low fat dairy foods, as well as chicken, fish, nuts and beans. Foods kept to a minimum include red meat, processed foods, sugar laden drinks and foods. It is low in salt and high in magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Aged Garlic Extract lowers Blood Pressure 

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed aged garlic extract as an effective way to lower blood pressure in individuals on blood pressure medication. The response was seen in participants who took two capsules of aged garlic extract a day. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by about 12mmHg in the study.

The same results are not seen from using garlic cloves in cooking, as there is a different active ingredient in the aged garlic extract. Garlic does have many health benefits though including anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory!