Diet reduces illness risk in six weeks

Diet reduces illness risk in six weeks; recent Auckland study

NZ Newswire January 15, 2013, 4:01 am

It took only six weeks of the participants eating a Mediterranean type diet for inflammation to reduce, the recent study by Auckland University nutrition Professor Lynnette Ferguson found.Healthy people can reduce their risk of developing a chronic illness such as Alzheimer's disease by changing their diet, a study has found.

"Inflammation can be the catalyst for chronic human diseases, including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, as well as various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease and type 2 diabetes," she said.

The diet involved participants eating gluten-free foods including fruits, nuts, whole grains, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and limiting or cutting out refined grains, saturated fats and sugars.

The study looked at 30 healthy New Zealanders who were selected for their previously poor diets.

Blood tests at the start and end of the study showed the diet had altered gene expression. Genes are inherited, but the expression of genes is modified by environment.

Prof Ferguson said: "This is a remarkable result since it shows that average people, many of them young and with no health conditions, can, through an improvement in diet, significantly modify the biomarkers that indicate the risk that they could develop a chronic disease later."

Diet has been shown to reduce inflammation in many other previous studies. Prof Ferguson set out to investigate whether there was evidence of inflammation in apparently healthy New Zealanders and if changing their diet for just six weeks would reduce it.

The study is a pilot for a larger similar study of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases


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