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“Walnuts may promote health by changing gut bacteria”
- Walnuts in the diet change the makeup of bacteria in the gut, which suggest a new way walnut may contribute to better health. Walnuts have been called a ‘superfood’ because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid and fiber and they contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Now an additional superfood benefit of walnuts may be their beneficial changes to gut microbiota. Walnuts in the diet increases the diversity of bacteria in a gut. Walnuts increases 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.
- 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 cardio vascular disease risk and improve brain health.
From a young age, we are taught that different nutritious foods can help our bodies stay healthy. Want strong bones? Drink milk to get your calcium. Looking to bulk up your muscles? Eat more meat to pack in the protein. But did anyone ever tell you that there is a super nutrient that can boost your brain?
In the past, lutein – a carotenoid or pigment found in many fruits and vegetables – was primarily known as a nutrient for good eye health. But new research shows that it may also play a strong role in developing and maintaining brain function, and can enhance learning and memory. New research suggests lutein, a nutrient known for supporting eye health, also enhances cognitive skills.
Benefits Babies to Boomers
From infants to seniors, everyone can benefit from a lutein-rich diet.
Increased levels of lutein may help speed up cognitive milestones in infants. Research suggests that as babies get more lutein, either from formula or from breastmilk (when their mother has a high-lutein diet) - supports the development of brain function. “These cognitive milestones could include an infant making eye contact with a parent, moving their head to look at something in their peripheral vision, or turning their attention to someone when they hear their name.”
School-age children may see higher test scores when they eat more lutein. The amount of lutein present in preadolescent children’s eyes directly relates to their brain development and learning skills, which can predict performance on tests.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin (another carotenoid) improves processing speed and efficiency, along with memory in young and older adults. Lutein is known to accumulate in the retina and several other regions of the brain and has been shown to protect against eye disease and preserve cognitive function in older adults.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help increase your lutein intake each day. Aim to eat foods rich in lutein like green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, turnip green, celery and broccoli, zucchini, garden peas, carrots, tomatoes, beets and eggs.
With a helpful brain boost from lutein, people of all ages may be able to improve their cognitive function, from learning and memory to concentration and focus. So, treat your brain to a tasty snack - amp up your next meals by incorporating more lutein.
Liver is not only the largest organ of the body but also one of the most vital. It filters blood, detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes drugs, secretes bile and also makes proteins necessary for blood clotting. Fatty Liver has become one of the most common causes of liver disease worldwide and has been recognized as a major health burden.
What is fatty liver?
Fatty liver or steatosis is the term that describes the buildup of fat in the liver. While it’s normal to have some fat in liver, more than 5 to 10 percent of liver weight is fat in case of fatty liver.
The prevalence of fatty liver has grown proportionally with the rise in obesity, sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle, improper dietary pattern, and metabolic syndrome. Subjects with significantly higher value of body mass index, waist circumference, percent body fat, total cholesterol and above normal blood pressure have more chances of having a fatty liver.
Currently, there is no drug therapy that can be formulated for treating fatty liver. A combination of dietary modifications and increased physical activity remains the mainstay of fatty liver management.
Diet to be followed:
People with fatty liver are encouraged to eat a variety of foods, choose from several food groups, and include predominantly whole grains and their products in the diet. Consuming high quality protein like eggs, lean meat like fish and chicken will help regenerate the liver cells. For the vegans complementary proteins like low fat dairy products, beans, legumes and pulses would enrich their diet. A daily serving of fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended. Unsaturated vegetable oil like safflower, sunflower or olive for cooking can be used. Plenty of water needs to be taken everyday which would help flush the liver of toxins. Combination of vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids show promise for the treatment of fatty liver.
What to avoid:
- Fried foods
- Saturated and trans fats like butter, cheese and red meat
- High fructose and high glycemic index foods like soda, potatoes, white bread etc
Fatty liver is reversible if proper adequate steps are taken and a healthy liver goes a long way in enhancing the quality and longevity of life of an individual.