Leafy Greens May Help in Controlling Food Allergies, Inflammatory Disease, and Obesity

•March 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Fresh Swiss chard

Fresh Swiss chard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mom always said to eat your greens because they’re good for you; but even Mom in all her wisdom didn’t know how good for you greens are. A research team from the UK and Australia have found that the proteins in green leafy vegetables interact with a cell surface receptor that switches on T-bet, a gene that creates a subset of  innate lymphoid cells (ILC). These cells protect the body against infections that enter through the digestive system.

ILCs generate the hormone interleukin-22 (IL-22), which protects the body from bacteria. If gene T-bet isn’t present, the body is more vulnerable to bacterial infections that find their way in through the digestive system. The researchers concluded that increasing ILCs may aid in the treatment of these bacterial infections.

In addition,  ILCs promote good bacteria and heal small wounds and abrasions that are often found in the tissues of the gut. They may also help in curing cancerous lesions. The researchers noted that science is just beginning to understand how important ILCs are in regulating allergy and inflammation, and how they impact bowel cancer and gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease.


Eating Lots of Junk Food When You’re Pregnant Can Turn Baby Into a Junk Food Junkie

•March 1, 2013 • 1 Comment
Junk food copy

Junk food copy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When pregnant women eat a high junk food diet, they may be altering the development of the opioid signaling pathway in their baby’s brains. These changes make the child less sensitive to opiods that are released when the child eats foods with high fat and sugar content. This decreased sensitivity means the child needs to eat larger amounts of sugar and fat-containing food in order to get the  “feel good” response that opiods create. In effect, the child becomes a junk food junkie, craving more and more sugar and fat.

These findings are the result of a study performed by Australian researchers on the offspring of two groups of rats. One group of mother rats were fed normal rat food and the other group were fed a variety of human junk foods during pregnancy and lactation. After the babies had been weaned, they were injected each day with Naloxone, an opioid receptor blocker, to stop the release of dopamine and block opioid signaling. This lowers the intake of fat and sugar.

The researchers discovered that the opioid receptor blocker wasn’t as successful in decreasing fat and sugar intake in the babies of the mothers who were fed junk food. This means that the opiod receptor blocker was unable to work properly because  the opioid signaling pathway in these babies was less sensitive as compared to the opioid signaling pathway in the babies whose mothers eat normal rat food.








Link Between Sugar Intake and Diabetes Shown

•March 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Sugar sugar

Sugar sugar (Photo credit: dhammza)

Back in your grandmother’s day, people often referred to diabetes mellitus as “sugar diabetes;” in fact, some older folks still use that term. It turns out they were spot on, according to the findings from a new study conducted by researchers from the University of California and Stanford University that says the level of sugar intake and the length of time it is consumed affects the prevalence of diabetes in a dose-dependent manner, meaning the more it’s consumed and the longer the period of consumption, the more likely the individual is to develop diabetes. The researchers also found that declines in sugar consumption were associated with substantial declines in diabetes rates regardless ” of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes”.

They arrived at these findings by using the  United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization food supply data to determine the availability of sugars, fibers, fruits, meats, cereals, oils, and total food in kilocalories per person per day in 175 countries for more than 10 years. They also used the International Diabetes Federation estimates of diabetes prevalence among individuals between the ages of 20 to 79 years old from 2000 through 2010. They controlled for:

  • Gross domestic product per capita, which was  expressed in each country’s equivalent of the purchasing power provided by 2005 US dollars
  • Percent of population living in urban areas, and percent of population older than 65 for each country in each year of the analysis from the World Bank World Development Indicators Database 2011
  • The prevalence of obesity was determined from the World Health Organization Global Infobase 2012 edition

Here’s what they found:

  • Each 150 kilocalories per person per day increase in total calorie availability resulted in a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence
  • Each 150 kilocalories per person per day increase in sugar availability (one 12 oz. can of soft drink) resulted in a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence
  • After all control variables including current income, changes in income, urbanization, aging, obesity, and the consumption of other foods were incorporated into the model,  diabetes prevalence rates rose 27 percent on average from 2000 to 2010



Stressed by PMS? Get Some Iron and Zinc in Your Diet

•February 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment
English: Zinc

English: Zinc (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have found that women who have an intake of 50 milligrams of nonheme iron daily were almost 40 percent less likely less to develop PMS. Exactly what is nonheme iron? It’s the kind of iron that is found in vegetables, grains and legumes like lentils and beans. It is the opposite of heme iron, which is found in red meat, fish and poultry. An intake of 25 milligrams or more daily of zinc from supplements was also found to make women approximately 30 percent less likely to develop PMS.

These researchers based these findings on a sub-study that was part of the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991–2001). Participants didn’t have PMS at the beginning of the study. “After 10 years, 1,057 women were confirmed as PMS cases and 1,968 as controls. Mineral intake was assessed using food frequency questionnaires completed in 1991, 1995, and 1999.”

In addition to the discoveries about iron and zinc, it was found that women with the highest levels of potassium intake were 46 percent more likely to develop PMS.

The researchers stressed that additional studies are needed to confirm these results.


Your Child’s Growth May be Affected by a Food Allergy

•February 25, 2013 • 1 Comment
Common food allergies in children

Common food allergies in children (Photo credit: Adams999)

A study presented during the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology on February 22-26 found that children with food allergies had lower weight and body mass index percentiles than children without allergies. This slower growth may be the result of removing of foods from their diets.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill analyzed the charts of children between the age of one month to 11 years old who had been seen at University outpatient clinics between 2007 and 2011. They were able to identify 245 food allergic children from those records. The researchers then compared the height, weight and BMI of the allergic children to the height, weight, and BMI of 4,584 healthy children within the same age range and 205 children with cystic fibrosis and celiac disease also within that range. Cystic fibrosis and celiac disease inhibit growth in children.

Here’s what the researchers discovered:

  • After the age of two,  food allergic children had lower weight and BMI percentiles
  • Children with more than two food allergies had lower percentiles for height and weight than children with only one or two food allergies
  • Children who were allergic to milk had lower percentiles for weight and BMI as compared with those with other types of food allergies


Preventing Foodborne Illness During a Snow Storm

•February 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Seal of the United States Department of Agricu...

Seal of the United States Department of Agriculture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put together this handout to help you keep your refrigerated foods safe during stormy weather when the power fails.

Women Who Eat Walnuts May Lower Their Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

•February 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Logo for the World Diabetes Day

Logo for the World Diabetes Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A research team from the U.S. and Singapore found that women who eat large amounts of walnuts may be cutting their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Using participants from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and  Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II), they followed 58,063 women aged 52–77 years old from the first study and 79,893 women aged 35–52 years old from the second for 10 years. None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer when the studies began.

Every four years, the researchers evaluated how many walnuts the participants consumed through a validated food frequency questionnaire. The participants also reported if they developed type 2 diabetes through a validated supplemental questionnaire. A total of 5,930 type 2 diabetes cases were documented during the 10 years of follow-up.

In the first statistical model, the data was analyzed without including the participants’ body mass index (BMI). the results from this analysis indicated that participants who ate:

  • One-three 28 gram servings per month had a 93 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes
  • One 28 gram serving per week had an 81 percent chance
  • Two or more serving per week had a 67 percent chance

In the second statistical model, which included BMI, the researchers found that participants who ate:

  • One-three 28 gram servings per month had a 96 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes
  • One 28 gram serving per week had an 87 percent chance
  • Two or more serving per week had a 76 percent chance

In both analyses, the results suggested that high levels of walnut consumption helps protect women from developing type 2 diabetes.