Monthly Archives: July 2017

Healthy Benefit Of Walnuts

“Walnuts have been called a ‘superfood’ because they are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid and fiber, and they contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants,” notes Dr. Byerley. “Now, an additional superfood benefit of walnuts may be their beneficial changes to the gut microbiota.”

Working in a rodent model, the research team added walnuts to the diet of one group. The diet of the other group contained no walnuts. They then measured the types and numbers of gut bacteria in the descending colon and compared the results. They found that there were two distinct communities of bacteria in the groups. In the walnut-eating group, the numbers and types of bacteria changed, as did the bacteria’s functional capacity. The researchers reported a significant increase in beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus.

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease,” says Byerley. “Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacillus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic.”

Prebiotics are dietary substances that selectively promote the numbers and activity of beneficial bacteria.

“Gut health is an emerging research area, and researchers are finding that greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes,” adds Byerley.

The researchers conclude that the reshaping of the gut microbe community by adding walnuts to the diet suggests a new physiological mechanism to improve health. Eating walnuts has been associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk, slower tumor growth in animals and improved brain health.

The LSU Health New Orleans research team also included Drs. Derrick Samuelson, Eugene Blanchard, IV, Meng Luo, Sheila Banks, David Welsh, Brittany Lorenzen and Christopher Taylor, as well as Dr. Monica Ponder at Virginia Tech.

Know The Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease but only if you are rich or highly educated. This is the surprising finding by researchers from the Italian I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, who performed a study on over 18,000 subjects recruited within the Moli-sani study and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Cardiovascular advantages associated with the Mediterranean diet are well-known but now the Italian study, conducted by a team of researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention led by Giovanni de Gaetano, reveals that such benefits are strongly influenced by the socioeconomic position of people. Basically, given a comparable adherence to this eating pattern, the study has shown that the reduction in cardiovascular risk is observed only in people with higher educational level and/or greater household income. No actual benefits were observed for the less advantaged groups.

“The cardiovascular benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet in a general population are well known — says Marialaura Bonaccio, researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and first author of the study — Yet for the first time our study has revealed that the socioeconomic position is able to modulate the health advantages linked to Mediterranean diet. In other words, a person from low socioeconomic status who struggles to follow a Mediterranean model, is unlikely to get the same advantages of a person with higher income, despite the fact that they both similarly adhere to the same healthy diet.”

Neuromed researchers went further and tried to unravel the possible mechanisms underlying such disparities.

“Given a comparable adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the most advantaged groups were more likely to report a larger number of indices of high quality diet as opposed to people with low socioeconomic status — explains Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of nutritional and molecular Epidemiology at the Department — For example, within those reporting an optimal adherence to the Mediterranean diet (as measured by a score comprising fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, cereals, fish, fats, meat, dairy products and alcohol intake) people with high income or higher educational level consumed products richer in antioxidants and polyphenols, and had a greater diversity in fruit and vegetables choice. We have also found a socioeconomic gradient in the consumption of whole-grain products and in the preferred cooking methods. These substantial differences in consuming products belonging to Mediterranean diet lead us to think that quality of foods may be as important for health as quantity and frequency of intake.”

“Our results should promote a serious consideration of socioeconomic scenario of health — comments Giovanni de Gaetano, director of the Department — Socioeconomic disparities in health are growing also in access to healthy diets. During the very last years, we documented a rapid shifting from the Mediterranean diet in the whole population, but it might also be that the weakest citizens tend to buy ‘Mediterranean’ food with lower nutritional value. We cannot be keeping on say that the Mediterranean diet is good for health — de Gaetano concludes — if we are not able to guarantee an equal access to it.”