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UMD awarded grant to develop an integrated hypertension management program for older adults



To counteract the significant health burden caused by high blood pressure (characterized by persistent high blood pressure), the University of Maryland (UMD) recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) to test and run an integrated program provide for the treatment of high blood pressure for older adults. The program takes the existing DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and adapts it to people aged 55 and over through a virtual educational program (due to the pandemic) running this summer, with a personal program next summer.

The DASH-Plus intervention developed by the UMD faculty includes diet, simple chair exercises, access to fresh fruit and vegetables via the Imperfect Foods delivery service, and blood pressure self-monitoring. This program works with dietetics students to develop and test recipes, and brings together research, academics, and expansion to tailor and provide in-depth education on hypertension to the older adults who need it most.

“Heart disease is the number one killer in our country, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor,” says Hee-Jung Song, associate professor of nutritional and food science and UMD extension (UME) specialist, who leads the scholarship. “Hypertension is particularly common in older adults, but many do not know how to manage it. If blood pressure is not properly controlled, it will take enormous resources and enormous health care costs to deal with the complications. We hope this grant will help can reduce this burden. ” and improve the quality of life of our aging population. “

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. However, this proportion increases significantly with age, with 63% of adults aged 60 and over suffering from high blood pressure. According to Song, it is estimated that one in five people in the US will be an older adult by 2030.

With this new grant, Song saw the opportunity to help this growing population and capitalize on partnerships between research, academics and UME. The DASH-Plus (with the DASH diet plus physical activity and self-management) is a training and management program for hypertension that consists of eight weeks of training and meets for one hour once a week. The program begins with elderly-friendly chair exercises, followed by an educational module, and ends with a DASH-friendly recipe video that teaches proper food preparation and safety.

One of the very well-studied approaches to treating high blood pressure is the DASH diet. DASH isn’t just for people with high blood pressure, it’s a healthy eating pattern for everyone, along with the current nutritional guidelines for Americans and a healthy Mediterranean diet. But in addition to DASH, we wanted to incorporate the exercise program with tailored exercises for older adults and recipes that are easy to make and enjoy. “

Hee-Jung Song, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Science

To develop the DASH Plus program and featured recipes, Song worked with Margaret Udahogora, director of the dietetics program and lecturer in nutritional and food science. “I’ve worked in hospitals and long-term care, and I’ve used the DASH diet in one-to-one classes with older adults dealing with chronic diseases,” says Udahogora. “Seeing how it is integrated into a collaborative approach has really interested me and gave my students a unique experience.”

As part of Udahogora’s Food Service Operation course, her students developed and tested recipes, created full nutrition labels for them, and even produced instructional videos as an example of what the program can do to show the recipe and how it can help with high blood pressure bypass.

“This came at a great time for our dietetics students who were unable to gain work experience because of the pandemic,” explains Udahogora. “The pupils learn what changes in the body with age, what you can eat and digest, and take into account all the practical components of a recipe that their grandparents can and want to prepare. This gave them a different perspective on the needs of an older population to be considered, and enabled them to apply it from the individual to the community level. “

Song is working with Jinhee Kim and UME educators in family and consumer science to test and roll out the program across the state of Maryland. Because of the pandemic, the program will initially be tested virtually and will run this summer. The team will then use this information to personalize, improve, and share the program over the next summer.

“The UME educators are important players because they actually implement this program virtually or later in person,” emphasizes Song. “They have extensive experience and established partnerships with senior centers, churches and aging departments so that we could leverage these existing resources and community relationships. That’s why we can offer the program this summer.”

In addition to the educational components of the program, Song hopes to solve access problems for older adults to fresh fruits and vegetables by working with Imperfect Foods, a subscription service that delivers “ugly” products at discounted prices. Song found in her initial needs assessment that even if older adults receive coupons or discounts at local farmers ‘markets, going to the farmers’ market to use the voucher is still a major barrier to eating more fruits and vegetables.

Similarly, she hopes to remove some barriers to blood pressure self-control, which is an important part of treating high blood pressure. Participants in their program are asked to take regular blood pressure measurements and share the information with their health care providers. With this combination of education, access and surveillance, Song and Udahogora hope to improve the quality of life for older adults with a nationwide program.

“Controlling blood pressure is very important to the quality of life of older adults because so many things get worse with high blood pressure,” says Udahogora. “Tiredness, depression, kidney problems – you can get rid of unnecessary suffering and prevent these problems from getting worse. It is a silent killer and challenges people, the health system and their families when the grandparents can no longer play along with their grandchildren. We want to prevent that as much as possible. “

The virtual DASH-Plus program started this month and is open for registration! If you are interested in participating or to learn more, please visit:

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Healthy Eating

One Major Effect Garlic Has On Your Gut, Says Science



Your gut is arguably one of the most important things to look out for when it comes to your overall health, as it can affect your risk for things like excessive weight gain, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer.

As more research is done, experts find that Food and nutrition play a huge role in maintaining your gut health. In fact, foods like yogurt, sprouted grains, salmon, and garlic have all been shown to make a positive contribution.

Particularly noteworthy is garlic. Not only because it is delicious, but also because it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. One important effect of garlic on your gut that researchers recently discovered is its Ability to act as a prebiotic for your gut microbiome.

But why is it so important? Well, maintaining a balanced gut microbiome is vital as it is the group of bacteria, fungi, and other components that live in your digestive tract that directly affect things like your digestion, immune system, and even your mental health!

Read on to learn exactly why prebiotic foods like garlic are necessary for maintaining a healthy gut.

First, what is garlic made of?

Garlic may be small, but it’s actually a complex food, with many different types of nutrients and compounds that make it a common medicinal meal supplement.

According to Nutrients, garlic cloves are mostly made up of carbohydrates, but they also contain protein, fiber, amino acids, water, and organosulfur compounds (which are also found in broccoli, onions, and cabbage).

Most of the carbohydrates in garlic are fructose polymers known as fructans. Although the health benefits of fructans are constantly being researched, many experts consider them “health-promoting food ingredients”.

For example, a report published in the Scientific World Journal states that fructans are known to promote better immune health, act as antioxidants in the body, and potentially act as prebiotics in the gut.

RELATED: Secret Side Effects of Eating Garlic, Science Says

How garlic helps your gut


It is important to note that much of the current research on garlic and gut health is conducted through animal testing, so more specifically related to human health needs to be discovered.

However, current knowledge about garlic and human health is positive and shows many specific benefits for the human gut microbiome.

According to Food Science & Human Wellness, the fructans contained in garlic act as “prebiotics” in the intestinal microbiome and promote the production of “good” intestinal bacteria (also known as bifidobacteria).

Prebiotics can do this by passing through your digestive tract without actually being digested, which allows them to be used as nourishment for the good bacteria in your gut, helping to keep the other bacteria in your gut at bay.

In addition, prebiotics are known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases, according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Health.

So it’s easy to see that garlic really does have some amazing gut health benefits, and while more research needs to be done, the current results are promising!

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Healthy Eating

Craving food vs. choosing food – FIT Talk With Tania



Photo: Contributed

When we use food to create hormonal balance instead of dieting, amazing things happen to our health.

When it comes to food, here in North America and in all of the First World countries we have choices – an overwhelming variety.

Aside from the rush for toilet paper over the past year, how many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen empty shelves? It never happens.

Some call it a blessing, some blame it on their poor food choices.

Regardless of where you sit on this food spectrum, we know for sure that we should be one of the healthiest nations on earth. But we are not. As a wealthy First World country, we have an abundance of food, but the vast majority of the population is nutritionally starved. One wonders how that can happen. It all depends on the choice.

Many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, digestive problems and leaky gut are all referred to as lifestyle diseases today. Why? Because the lifestyle that the individual has chosen over time is what caused the disease.

It would therefore seem logical that if our decisions could have a negative outcome, it would seem reasonable that they could elicit a positive response as well. And there is science to back it up.

A study published on the NCBI website by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, shows how diet and lifestyle changes are key to reversing these lifestyle ailments and restoring general health.

“But Tania,” you say, “there is heart disease in my family, so sooner or later I’ll get it.”

So why not do it as late as possible?

And to address the genetic elephant in the room, our DNA only controls about 20 percent of the result of our health. Some scientists are now saying that it is even less. This means that we have about 80 percent control over the outcome of our health. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

So why do most of our population continue to make poor food choices?

There are two aspects that play a role in how and what we eat – physiological and psychological.

The way our bodies are made up, our physiology requires us to ingest food. When we deprive our body of what it needs – restricting calories, removing food groups, forgetting to eat, skipping meals, eating junk food – blood sugar crashes and appetite hormones like leptin and grehlin are out of whack. .

However, the brain – the psychological component – still needs nourishment.

When we withdraw the energy it needs from our body, Grehlin goes into full swing and causes the brain to tell the body that it needs food quickly. Leptin, which normally tells us when we are full, is switched off.

Hello cravings and overeating. And then people are most likely to resort to packaged, processed, and / or sugary foods rather than healthy, healthy foods. It is a good thing to ignore cravings for bad food, but if you don’t refuel with good food on a regular basis throughout the day (for whatever reason – time, working late, dieting), your body will get its own Muscles take it away to form glucose and send it to the brain. Oh, and for your information, in case you’re wondering, it won’t take away from your stored fat.

It is quite difficult to make good food choices when hormones and “hangry” feelings are working against you when you demand to be fed as soon as possible. The thing is, you can get these hormones to work in your favor, to work with your body and brain to get rid of cravings, overeating, and spontaneous snacking. Believe it or not, you do it with food. The thing is, when food is used to restore hormonal balance, health happens.

Hormones are balanced when blood sugar levels are stabilized. And the way to stabilize blood sugar is to eat small, macro-balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day.

I call this all three PFCs. Simply put, it’s a balanced mix of high-quality protein, healthy fat, and colorful carbohydrates combined within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours throughout the day until about an hour and a half before bed.

It’s a simple concept that requires a little organization and preparation to get started, but the benefits are well worth it.

Blood sugar levels become normal, hormones are balanced, menopausal symptoms are minimized or eliminated, inflammation is reduced, joint pain is relieved, digestion is improved, cholesterol and blood pressure are normalized, the immune system is improved, it could help reverse some diseases, the Metabolism will turn on and stay on and the body will release stored fat and burn it for energy.

Just a little trivia for you – Did you know that for every pound of fat, there are 3,500 calories of stored energy waiting to be consumed? And as soon as the stored fat is broken down, will the excess weight that you possibly carry also be released?

It’s a wonderful side benefit that occurs when you stop dieting and focus on creating health.

Do you want to create health in your body? Join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes Facebook group today.

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Healthy Eating

The Surprising Snack You Should Avoid Because It Causes Bloating And Fatigue Throughout The Day



Snacking is a normal and healthy part of any diet, as long as you choose the right snacks. When deciding which foods to include in your diet to bridge the gap between meals, it is important to choose nutrient-rich ingredients that can help boost your energy levels and support an increased feeling of satiety to help you achieve the Avoid consuming excess calories throughout the day.

However, not all high macronutrient density snacks are actually ideal for weight loss, and some can make sweeping claims while they may get in the way of your weight loss success or even cause weight gain, inflammation, and discomfort. If you are struggling with a tight and bloated stomach after snacking, there comes a point where nutritionists agree that you should consider eliminating it from your diet.

We are giving away a clean, environmentally friendly hand soap package from Cleancult


Protein is hands down one of the most important nutrients to include in any balanced diet, but the way you consume your protein is important to consider. While protein bars are a simple snack, they are generally not well suited to promoting weight loss and wellness, and are often full of preservatives, excess carbohydrates, and added sugars, but they can make inflammation in your body worse.

“Unfortunately, the quality of most bars on the market is very poor and should not be considered healthy,” warns registered dietitian Trista Best. “The vast majority are made up of refined carbohydrates, sugar and gluten, all of which can lead to gas and fatigue . “

If you’re snacking on a protein bar, chances are you’re looking for a quick protein boost and enough energy to get you through to your next meal. However, opting for a bar over a naturally occurring source of protein can come with a number of side effects, many of which are uncomfortable for the body. “As the body works to process these ingredients, it becomes inflamed, especially the intestines, and this inflammation leads to gas and fatigue, among other things,” says Best.

Although gas isn’t directly related to weight gain, it can make your body feel uncomfortable and negatively affect your mental health. If you feel that your clothes are tighter you may be inclined to ditch your healthy eating plan, but it is better to identify the foods that are causing these problems rather than assuming your weight loss plan will fail.


Since protein bars are often filled with additives and excess sugar, they can also have an inverse effect on your metabolism, making it difficult to burn fat at rest and consequently, weight gain over time. This snack may go well with your healthy diet as it provides one of the most important macronutrients you need to streamline your diet, but at the end of the day, getting your protein from more natural sources like chickpeas will serve you better Salad, lean meat, or even Greek yogurt.

These foods are more likely to keep your body energized while also being low in calories, sugar, and unhealthy preservatives, making them better at limiting inflammation, fatigue, and weight gain.

If you’ve just finished a difficult workout or are severely low in calories for the day, a low-sugar, high-protein bar may not be the worst option for getting a quick burst of energy. However, make sure that you don’t rely on this highly processed snack in your daily diet to banish gas, unnecessary fatigue, and discomfort and try to find more natural alternatives to give your body the energy it needs needed to make it between meals.

As with any food, you can enjoy protein bars in moderation and still see success with your healthy diet, but contrary to popular belief, in order to feel optimal about your body, they shouldn’t be a part of your diet. A good rule of thumb is to eat as many natural, whole foods as possible, and there are a variety of different sources that will benefit your body in the long run.

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