Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Program boosts nutrition, wellness for seniors

February 6, 2008


Q: Are you offering the PATH program again?

Oh, yes! We are offering PATH, the acronym for "Personal Actions To Health," to individuals ages 55 and over starting Feb. 19 through March 13 at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 19th St. This four-week course will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This nutrition and exercise program is designed to help older adults develop a healthier lifestyle. The program features four components, including: a nutrition education series designed to help you learn how to modify and practice new food habits to protect or improve your health and quality of life; exercise education describing the effects of exercise on chronic disease including arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular health and lifestyle management; a sampling of a variety of new tastes in food using healthy cooking procedures; and "optional" flexibility and strength-building exercises during the group workout to wrap up each session.

In addition, a "Functional Fitness Assessment" that measures an individual's current fitness level will be scheduled Feb. 18 and March 14.

Also, you may be interested in knowing that after you have completed the course, you may participate (if you choose to) in one of the PATH exercise groups that continue to meet twice a week all year long at either the First Christian Church or the First Baptist Church. In addition to enjoying some friendly camaraderie, those participating have shown an increase in flexibility, strength, endurance, agility/balance, and coordination.

The Douglas County PATH Planning Team currently includes the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, Douglas County Senior Services, KU Health, Sport & Exercise Science, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence Parks and Recreation and past participant volunteers.

Because we require a doctor's consent for you to participate in this four-week course, it's important for you to register by Feb. 12. A registration fee of $20 is being charged. To register, contact me at 843-7058 or Shirley Grubbs at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at 843-0721.

Q: Is fresh garlic really that good for you?

A: According to Linda Tokarz, supervisory public affairs specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Researchers have known for some time that garlic - like its close relative, the onion - is a rich source of heart-protective compounds called thiosulfinates. These sulfur compounds, best known for causing eyes to water, may lower blood pressure and break up potentially harmful clusters of platelets in the bloodstream. But, up to now, most researchers and nutritionists assumed that the best way to seize on garlic's cardiovascular benefits was to eat the small bulbs in their most unfettered form: in the raw."

Not so, discovered Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant geneticist Philipp Simon and his colleagues Pablo Cavagnaro, Alejandra Camargo and Claudio Galmarini, whose findings appear in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. According to the researchers, it's best to crush them and then bake them slightly.

After boiling, baking and microwaving both crushed and uncrushed cloves of garlic and evaluating them for their antiplatelet activity, the scientists learned that lightly cooked, crushed garlic provides most of the health benefits found in raw garlic. The only exception was microwaving, which stripped garlic almost entirely of its blood-thinning effects.

The researchers contend that while heating might be generally blamed for reducing garlic's antiplatelet activity, it's the crushing that enables the beneficial compounds to be freed in the first place.


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