Eating walnuts may change gut bacteria in a way that suppresses bowel cancer, according to a recent study on mice. The reason is not proven, but mice fed walnuts, together with a typical Western diet loaded with fats and processed carbs, had increased levels of cancerprotective bacteria in their digestive tracts than those fed only a Western diet.
The lives of 88 healthy adults who underwent hip surgery were followed for four years. Spanish researchers discovered that vitamin D supplementation and exercise training appears to reduce the risk of death by 30 per cent.
Prenatal supplements of the longchain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, touted to improve a baby’s brain development, do not appear to work! Australian researchers gave 2400 pregnant women either 800 mg of DHA or a placebo every day for the second half of their pregnancy. Seven years later, the first 500 babies were old enough to have an IQ test. The findings showed that DHA gave no advantage in cognitive, language or motor development nor in IQ. In fact there was a weak link to poorer executive function and behaviour.
Patients with bowel cancer can halve their risk of death by adopting a Mediterranean-style diet. Researchers in Northern Germany followed the lives of 1400 bowel cancer survivors for seven years. They found that those who stuck to a Mediterranean diet had a 52 per cent lower risk of death than those who did not. Those with a healthy Nordic diet had a 37 per cent lower risk. Both diets included wholegrains, legumes, fruit and vegetables.
A Mediterranean-type diet appears to slow the brain shrinkage that normally occurs with age. More than 1000 seniors in Scotland underwent food-frequency assessment, cognitive testing and two brain MRIs three years apart. Those who ate a Mediterranean diet sustained more brain volume over the three-year interval. Fish and meat consumption did not seem to drive the change, suggesting that other components of the diet are responsible.