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Eating nuts can help reduce inflammation

Monday 1st August 2016
A new study has shown that nuts can help to significantly reduce inflammatory biomarkers. Image: Morrison1977 via iStock
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People who regularly consume nuts as part of a healthy, balanced diet are less likely to suffer from internal inflammation that could cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

This is according to a new study from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, which found a direct link between increased nut consumption and reduced inflammation. The health benefits of nuts have long been recognised, but this is the first time that such a connection has been made.

Researchers analysed the medical data and diet questionnaires of some 120,000 female nurses in the US, as well as over 50,000 men working in the health industry and found that those who consumed a greater amount of nuts were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular problems or type 2 diabetes, highlighting the benefits of eating more nuts.

What's more, it was found that people who swapped three servings of processed meat, red meat, refined grains or eggs for nuts every week had dramatically lower levels of common inflammatory biomarkers in their bodies. These results remained the same even when other factors such as the age and previous medical history of participants were taken into account.

In particular, the scientists focused on three specific biomarkers for inflammation - C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6) and tumour necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2). When nut consumption was increased, blood tests showed that levels of both CRP and IL6 were markedly reduced, demonstrating the anti-inflammatory benefits of the foodstuff.

Lead study author Ying Bao commented: "Much remains unknown about how our diet influences inflammation and, in turn, our risk of disease. But our study supports an overall healthful role for nuts in the diet and suggests reducing inflammation as a potential mechanism that may help explain the benefits of nuts on cardiometabolic diseases."

Nuts including peanuts and tree nuts contain an abundance of beneficial ingredients, such as magnesium, fibre, unsaturated fatty acids and various antioxidants.

Written by Martin Lambert

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