Foods for wellbeing

Tuesday, 12 June, 2018

Foods for wellbeing

The latest research into how adding certain foods to diets might help lower risk for diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and other health issues is a focus at Nutrition 2018. Here researchers will explain how eggs, nuts, dairy products, vegetables and even coffee may help protect against health problems.

Eggs and diabetes risk factors

Findings from a 12-week randomised study of overweight or obese individuals with pre- or type 2 diabetes suggest that eggs may help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes. Participants who ate an egg each day showed greater improvements in fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance than those who ate an egg substitute. Furthermore, eating eggs did not significantly change cholesterol levels. (Shirin Pourafshar, University of Virginia)

Pecans and cardio metabolic risk factors

After four weeks of eating a small handful (40–50 g) of whole pecans daily, overweight adults age 45 or older who were otherwise healthy showed favourable changes in cardio metabolic risk factors including blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and insulin-producing cell function, compared to when study participants consumed a diet similar in total fat and fibre but without daily pecans. Additional research is required to determine if a small daily portion of pecans would help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes for middle-aged and older adults who are overweight or obese. (Diane L McKay, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University)

Dairy products and colorectal cancer risk

Researchers studying 101,677 people, ages 54 to 83 years, found that not all dairy products are equal when it comes to reducing colorectal cancer risk. Study participants who consumed low-fat or fermented dairy products such as yoghurt showed the lowest risk for developing colorectal cancer. (Yumie Takata, Oregon State University)

Vegetables, berries and Parkinsonism risk

As a follow-up to a study that linked a healthy diet with a reduced risk of Parkinsonism (a group of neurological disorders that cause movement problems similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease), researchers followed 706 people for an average of 4.6 years to find out if consuming fruits and vegetables may be specifically associated with lowered risk. Their analysis revealed that eating more vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and berries, but not other fruits, may reduce the risk of Parkinsonism and slow its progression in older adults. (Puja Agarwal, Rush University Medical Center)

Mushrooms and inflammation

An analysis of PPEP-1 and PPEP-2 polysaccharides from the edible mushroom Pleurotus eryngii reveals that these complex carbohydrates can inhibit induced inflammatory responses. The new results are the first to demonstrate these anti-inflammatory properties and highlight the potential of PPEP-1 and PPEP-2 as dietary supplements to reduce inflammatory responses. (Gaoxing Ma, Nanjing Agricultural University; University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Coffee and the liver

A study of more than 14,000 people, aged 45 to 64, finds that people who drink three or more cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of liver-related hospitalisations than those who never drink coffee. The new findings provide evidence that coffee drinkers may have a lower risk for liver disease. (Emily Hu, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Nutrition 2018 is the inaugural flagship meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, held from 9–12 June in Boston. It is the national venue for more than 3000 researchers, practitioners and other professionals to announce research findings and explore their implications for practice and policy. Scientific symposia address the latest advances in cellular and physiological nutrition and metabolism, clinical and translational nutrition, global and public health, population science, and food science and systems.

Image credit: © Spears | Inhaus Creative

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