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Massive Study Yields Exciting Findings about Gut Health and the Microbiome

Gut health could be the biggest trend in the health field right now. Everywhere I turn people are discussing the importance of their gut health and how it is linked to their overall health, as well as the benefits of probiotics. And, for good reason: a growing body of research shows that what happens in our gut expands well beyond the gut.

Now new research shows that the health of your gut is significantly influenced by what you eat. A new study assessed 15096 fecal samples provided by 11336 people, published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, found some exciting facts about gut health and the microbiome, which is the total of all the microbes in a living being.

We each have a microbiome and no two microbiomes are alike, although there can be some similarities between them. The microbiome is a sort of microbial fingerprint. And, thanks to the new research, we have greater insight into the effect of diet on our microbiome. Here are some of the findings from this exciting study:

1) Plant-based diets produce the most diverse microbiomes. Diverse microbiomes seem to confer health benefits. Consider people who struggle to lose weight: earlier research in the journal Beneficial Microbes shows that they tend to have less diverse strains of beneficial bacteria and a lower ratio of beneficial microbes to harmful ones.

2) Eating more than 30 types of plant foods weekly yields the most diverse microbiome. In other words, it’s important to eat a plant-based diet but also one that has tremendous diversity. So, expand your horizons when it comes to trying new vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. Your microbiome will thank you. And, who knows? You might even discover a new favorite food.

3) There is a lower incidence of bacterial resistance in those who eat the greatest variety of plant foods weekly. This is great news since more and more varieties of harmful bacteria like E. coli and MRSA are, not only becoming more prevalent, they are also becoming resistant to the typical drug treatment: antibiotics. This is an astounding discovery on its own. We tend to assume that all of a certain variety of bacteria have the same level of potency against humans, but the research shows that people who eat a large variety of plant-based foods are less likely to be host to these disease-causing, resistant bacteria. People who ate more than 30 types of plant foods weekly had less resistance to antibiotics.

4) The gut bacteria of people suffering from mental health issues, including: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder were more similar to others suffering from mental disorders than to those who do not suffer from mental disorders. While the scientists conducting the study did not draw any conclusions, there may be a possible connection between gut health and mental health. Certainly other research suggests that is indeed the case. Research in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found a link between gut bacteria and increased activity in brain pathways that improve brain health and reduce depression risk.

microbiome

How can you reap the benefits of this exciting research?

There are endless ways to boost the variety of plant-based foods you consume, but the following ones should help you get started:

  1.    Start by replacing meat in your diet with plant-based options. Start with Meatless Mondays but don’t hesitate to go meatless the rest of the week as well
  2.    The next time you pass by that odd-looking fruit or vegetable in the produce section of your grocery store, add it to your cart. It’s easy enough to find recipes for lesser-known foods using a quick Internet search. And, most importantly, add the food to your diet.
  3.    Instead of just snacking on almonds or another nut, branch out to try Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc. Choose raw, unsalted varieties.
  4.    Rather than just add a can of kidney beans to your soup, stew, or chili, opt for bean varieties you are less familiar with. That could include: chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, Romano beans, black beans, navy beans, etc.
  5.    The next time a snack attack strikes, choose a piece of fruit or a bowl of mixed berries.
  6.    When you have a craving for salty foods, choose traditionally-fermented pickles, pickled green beans, pickled beets or other foods with live cultures. Not only will you be getting a wider variety and a greater quantity of plant-based foods, you’ll also help expand the beneficial microbes you consume. Be sure to choose pickled foods that state “live cultures” or “unpasteurized” on the label.

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook May 31, 2018
 Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook
 
source: www.care2.com


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This Nutrient Balance Reverses Brain Aging

The right balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may help promote healthy cognitive aging, new research finds.

While we are used to hearing about the benefits of the fatty acids in fish and fish oils, that is only half the story.

Omega-6 fatty acids can come from nuts, seeds and other oils.

Typically, Western diets have too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.

Together, a balance of these fatty acids may help to reduce age-related decline and maintain the integrity of cortical structures.

Ms Marta Zamroziewicz, who led the research, said:

“We studied a primary network of the brain — the frontoparietal network — that plays an important role in fluid intelligence and also declines early, even in healthy aging.
In a separate study, we examined the white matter structure of the fornix, a group of nerve fibers at the center of the brain that is important for memory.”

The researchers examined the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in adults aged 65 to 75, along with their brain structure.

The best balance of fatty acids for brain health.

Ms Zamroziewicz explained that it takes more than just fish and fish oils to keep the brain healthy with age:

“A lot of research tells us that people need to be eating fish and fish oil to get neuroprotective effects from these particular fats, but this new finding suggests that even the fats that we get from nuts, seeds and oils can also make a difference in the brain.”

A second study found a link between a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and greater memory preservation in older adults.

Ms Zamroziewicz explained:

“These findings have important implications for the Western diet, which tends to be misbalanced with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Professor Aron Barbey, who co-authored the study, said:

“These two studies highlight the importance of investigating the effects of groups of nutrients together, rather than focusing on one at a time.
They suggest that different patterns of polyunsaturated fats promote specific aspects of cognition by strengthening the underlying neural circuits that are vulnerable to disease and age-related decline.”

The study was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience (Zamroziewicz et al., 2017).

source: PsyBlog


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If You’re Looking For A Healthy Heart, Go Nuts!

Eating 28 g of peanuts or tree nuts at least twice a week reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke by 15 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively

If you’re looking for foods to keep your heart in tip-top shape, add nuts to your smart-snacking list.

According to a new study from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, eating nuts regularly can help prevent heart attack and stroke, and lower the odds of dying from cardiovascular disease.

What’s more, it seems that some types of nuts deliver stronger heart benefits than others.

For the study, researchers followed 289,000 healthy men and women for up to 32 years. They analyzed participants’ diets every two years and reviewed medical records for a diagnosis of heart attack or stroke and identified cardiovascular deaths.

Compared with people who never or almost never ate nuts (any type of nut, including peanuts), participants who ate one serving (28 g) at least five times a week were 20 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, either fatal or nonfatal. (Peanuts are classified as legumes, not tree nuts.)

After analyzing specific types of nuts, it was found that eating 28 g of peanuts or tree nuts at least twice a week reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke by 15 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. (Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts).

Walnuts, though, delivered a stronger protective punch. Participants who ate a 28 g serving just once a week had a 21 per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease. When stroke risk was considered separately, only walnuts and peanuts were found to offer significant protection.

This research was observational (e.g., it followed the habits of participants over years and associated them with health outcomes), so it doesn’t prove that eating nuts prevented heart attack or stroke.

However, a recent randomized trial – the gold standard for establishing cause and effect – revealed that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 g of nuts lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease by 30 per cent.

How nuts protect your heart
Nuts are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, plant protein, fibre and many nutrients (e.g., B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium) and phytochemicals believed to benefit the heart.

A regular intake of nuts has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, dampen inflammation, enhance blood vessel function and improve how the body uses insulin.

Nuts also contain flavonoids, phytochemicals that are metabolized by gut bacteria and, in so doing, may contribute cardiovascular benefits.

 



What about the calories?
Nuts are high in calories, mostly from fat. Yet, there’s no scientific evidence that eating nuts on a regular basis causes weight gain.

Rather, studies suggest that nut eaters experience less weight gain and have a lower risk of obesity than people who don’t eat them, likely because eating them increases satiety.

Even so, I don’t recommend you eat more than a small handful or two each day.

One cup of peanuts, for instance, delivers 857 calories, half a day’s worth for some people.

Limit your serving of raw or dry roasted nuts to 28 grams (one ounce).

Notable nutrients in nuts (per 28 g serving)

Almonds. Per 28 g (22 nuts): 170 calories, 6 g protein, 15 g fat, 3 g fibre

Notable: 7 mg vitamin E, nearly half a day’s worth for adults

Brazil nuts. Per 28 g (6 nuts): 187 calories, 4 g protein, 19 g fat, 2 g fibre

Notable: 107 mg magnesium (25 per cent of a day’s worth) and nearly 10 times the daily requirement for selenium, needed for antioxidant protection and thyroid function

Cashews. Per 28 g (18 nuts): 163 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g fat, 1 g fibre

Notable: 74 mg magnesium (adults need 400 mg a day)

Hazelnuts: Per 28 g (18 nuts): 183 calories, 4 g protein, 18 g fat, 3 g fibre

Notable: 4.3 mg vitamin E (adults need 15 mg a day)

Peanuts. Per 28 g (28 nuts): 166 calories, 7 g protein, 14 g fat, 2.4 g fibre

Notable: 4 mg niacin (one-quarter of a day’s worth); resveratrol, a phytochemical thought to contribute to longevity

Pecans: Per 28 g (20 halves): 201 calories, 2.7 g protein, 21 g fat, 4 g fibre

Notable: 6.7 mg gamma tocopherol, an anti-inflammatory form of vitamin E thought to protect against heart disease and prostate cancer

Pistachios. Per 28 g (49 nuts): 162 calories, 6 g protein, 13 g fat, 2 g fibre

Notable: 6.6 mg gamma tocopherol

Walnuts: Per 28 g (14 halves): 185 calories, 4.3 g protein, 18. 5 g fat, 2 g fibre

Notable: 2.6 g alpha linolenic acid (ALA), a plant omega-3 fat; women need 1.1 g a day and men require 1.6 g. (Walnuts are the only nut that contains ALA.)

LESLIE BECK   NOVEMBER 26, 2017
FOLLOW LESLIE BECK ON TWITTER @LESLIEBECKRD


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The Type of Nuts That Boost Brainwaves

How to strengthen brainwaves related to cognition, learning, memory and even healing.

Eating nuts regularly strengthens brainwaves related to cognition, learning, memory and even healing, new research finds.

Pistachios were particularly good at boosting the brain’s gamma wave response.

Gamma waves are critical for faster cognitive process, learning, memory and even sleep.

Peanuts, meanwhile, enhanced the brain’s delta response.

The delta response is important for deep sleep, healing and healthy immunity.

Because of their antioxidant content, nuts have already been shown to benefit the heart, reduce inflammation and slow the aging process.

Dr Lee Berk, the study’s first author, said:

“This study provides significant beneficial findings by demonstrating that nuts are as good for your brain as they are for the rest of your body.”

For the research, different people ate six different types of nuts: walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, cashews and almonds.

Their brain waves were measured using EEG recordings.

All the different types of nuts contain antioxidants, with walnuts containing the highest levels.

The study’s authors write:

“Nuts are a major source of flavonoids.
They are potent antioxidants with known mechanisms that provide cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown that absorbed flavonoids penetrate and accumulate in brain hippocampal regions involved in learning and memory.”

The study was presented at Experimental Biology 2017  (Berk et al., 2017).

source: PsyBlog


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High Carb – Not Fat – Intake Linked To Greater Early Death Risk: Study

A large Canadian study is challenging conventional wisdom that says a low-fat diet is optimal for cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of premature death.

The McMaster University study of more than 135,000 people in 18 countries found that eating a moderate amount of all types of fat is linked to a reduced risk of early mortality compared to the much-touted low-fat diet — while consuming a high-carbohydrate diet is associated with an increased risk of dying early.

“Contrary to popular belief, increased consumption of dietary fats is associated with a lower risk of death,” said lead author Mahshid Dehghan, a nutrition epidemiologist at the Hamilton university’s Population Health and Research Institute.

“Those with a high-fat intake, about 30 per cent of energy intake, had a 23 per cent lower risk of mortality and an 18 per cent lower risk of stroke, compared to the low-intake group, which had 11 per cent energy from fat,” Dehghan said from Barcelona, where she presented the findings Tuesday to the European Society of Cardiology Congress.

“The association with lower mortality was also seen with all major types of fat, by which I mean saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.”

Saturated fat is found in meat and dairy products, while monounsaturated fat is contained in nuts, avocados, and vegetable and olive oils. Polyunsaturated fat is found in walnuts, sunflower and flax seeds, fish, corn, soybean and safflower oils.

Current global guidelines recommend that 50 to 65 per cent of daily calories come from carbohydrates, and less than 10 per cent from saturated fats. But Dehghan said that advice is mostly based on evidence from studies in North America and Europe.

Cardiovascular disease is a global epidemic, with 80 per cent of the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries. Diet is a key modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, experts say.

Dehghan said the healthiest diet would be made up of 50 to 55 per cent carbohydrates and 35 per cent total fat, including both saturated and unsaturated types.

“We found no evidence that below 10 per cent of energy from saturated fat is beneficial — and going below seven per cent is even harmful,” she said, adding that a diet containing 10 to 13 per cent of energy from saturated fat was found to be beneficial.

A diet that provides more than 60 per cent of energy from carbohydrates — one common among populations in China and South Asia — was associated with a 28 per cent higher risk of premature death, researchers found.

“The message of our study is moderation as opposed to very low or very high intake in consumption of both fats and carbohydrates.”
“We’re not advocating an extreme diet,” agreed co-author Andrew Mente. “We’re not saying that people should go on a low-carb, very high-fat diet because we didn’t find any benefit with a very low-carb diet either.

“There’s a sweet spot for carbohydrates, which is about 55 per cent of energy intake.”

The PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) study was published Tuesday in The Lancet. In a linked commentary in the journal, Drs. Christopher Ramsden and Anthony Domenichiello of the U.S. National Institute on Aging called the research “an impressive undertaking that will contribute to public health for years to come.”
“The relationships between diet, cardiovascular disease and death are topics of major public health importance…. Initial PURE findings challenge conventional diet-disease tenets that are largely based on observational associations in European and North American populations, adding to the uncertainty about what constitutes a healthy diet. This uncertainty is likely to prevail until well-designed randomized controlled trials are done.”

Mente, also a nutrition epidemiologist at the Population Health and Research Institute, was lead author of a second analysis from the PURE study presented Tuesday at the cardiology meeting.

That paper — one of three from PURE published in The Lancet — found that eating three to four servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes per day reduces the risk of premature death.

“And consuming higher amounts, pretty much you have the same level of risk,” Mente said from Barcelona. “There’s no added benefit with consuming more than four servings.
“This is important because existing guidelines recommend that people consume at least five servings per day, which is less affordable in the poorer countries because fruits and vegetables — particularly fruits — are more expensive as a proportion of people’s incomes.”

Lower-income Canadians may also be unable to afford the five to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables recommended in the country’s Food Guide.

“So what our study shows is you can achieve maximum benefit through fruits and vegetables and legumes, and it’s also affordable at the same time.”

Mente said the study also showed raw vegetables appear to confer greater health benefits than those that are cooked because of a loss of nutrients from being exposed to heat.

With the federal government in the process of revamping Canada’s Food Guide, the research could be a timely addition to consultations on what Canadians should be eating, Mente suggested.

“We would hope that independent thinkers perhaps reconsider the guidelines and look at our data, and perhaps rather than putting limits on total fat and saturated fat, perhaps we should be putting limits on the amount of carbohydrates that people consume.”

SHERYL UBELACKER     TORONTO    THE CANADIAN PRESS    AUGUST 29, 2017


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Depression: This Tiny Change to Diet Has Protective Effect

This small change to your diet could be enough to reduce the risk of depression.

A Mediterranean diet including fruits, vegetables and legumes can prevent depression, a large new study finds.

People only had to make relatively small changes to see the benefits.

The scientist think that depression could be partly down to a lack of essential nutrients.

The study included 15,093 people who were followed over 10 years.

People who reported eating more nuts, fruits and vegetables were considered to be following the Mediterranean diet more closely.

Those who ate more meats and sweets were considered to be moving away from the healthy diet.

The benefits of the diet are likely related to higher levels of omega 3 and other essential nutrients.

Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, who led the research, said:

“We wanted to understand what role nutrition plays in mental health, as we believe certain dietary patterns could protect our minds.
These diets are all associated with physical health benefits and now we find that they could have a positive effect on our mental health.
The protective role is ascribed to their nutritional properties, where nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables (sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) could reduce the risk of depression.”

Relatively small dietary changes were enough to reduce depression risk, Dr Sanchez-Villegas explained:

“A threshold effect may exist.
The noticeable difference occurs when participants start to follow a healthier diet.
Even a moderate adherence to these healthy dietary patterns was associated with an important reduction in the risk of developing depression.
However, we saw no extra benefit when participants showed high or very high adherence to the diets.
So, once the threshold is achieved, the reduced risk plateaus even if participants were stricter with their diets and eating more healthily.
This dose-response pattern is compatible with the hypothesis that suboptimal intake of some nutrients (mainly located in low adherence levels) may represent a risk factor for future depression.”

The research was published in the journal BMC Medicine (Sánchez-Villegas et al., 2015).
source: PsyBlog


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Certain Nuts Linked to Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer Return: Study

Nut-eaters saw a 42 percent lower chance of cancer recurrence – and a 57 percent lower chance of death than patients who did not eat nuts after completion of their cancer treatment, said the report.

Eating certain kinds of tree nuts, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews, has been linked to a dramatically lower risk of colon cancer recurrence, researchers said Wednesday.

The observational study involved 826 patients who had undergone treatment for Stage III colon cancer, typically including surgery and chemotherapy. Such patients – whose cancer has not spread elsewhere in the body – have a 70 per cent chance of surviving three years after treatment.

Some 19 per cent of patients consumed two or more ounces of all types of nuts per week.

These nut-eaters saw a 42 per cent lower chance of cancer recurrence – and a 57 per cent lower chance of death than patients who did not eat nuts after completion of their cancer treatment, said the report, released ahead of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, held in Chicago next month.

When researchers looked only at tree nut consumption, the chance of recurrence was 46 per cent lower and the chance of death was 53 per cent lower for those who ate at least two ounces per week, compared to people who did not eat nuts.

Peanuts and peanut butter – the most commonly consumed nuts in the United States – did not appear to have any significant effect.

“Numerous studies in the fields of heart disease and diabetes have shown the benefits of nut consumption, and we felt that it was important to determine if these benefits could also apply to colorectal cancer patients,” said lead study author Temidayo Fadelu, a clinical fellow in medicine at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

“Patients with advanced disease who benefit from chemotherapy frequently ask what else they can do to reduce their chances of recurrence or death, and our study is an important contribution to the idea that modifying diet and physical activity can be beneficial.”

Eating nuts should not be considered a substitute for standard chemotherapy and other treatments for colon cancer, experts said.

“Rather, patients with colon cancer should be optimistic, and they should eat a healthy diet, including tree nuts, which may not only keep them healthier, but may also further decrease the chances of the cancer coming back,” said ASCO president Daniel Hayes.

Researchers cautioned that the study was observational nature and did not prove cause and effect.

A separate study discussed Wednesday ahead of the Chicago cancer conference involved 992 people whose colon cancer had not spread. It showed that following a Mediterranean diet and exercising reduced their risk of dying prematurely by 42 per cent and also cut their chances of seeing their colon cancer return.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 


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How To Beat Major Depression With The Right Diet

World-first study reveals how diet can treat major depression.

Improving dietary quality successfully treats major depression, a large new study finds.

The three-month study recruited people with major depressive disorder.

One group were given support from a clinical dietitian.

A control group were given access to social support, which is also beneficial for depression.

Those in the dietary group saw great improvements in depressive symptoms.

At the end of the study one-third of people who had changed their diet were in remission from depression.

This compared to only 8% in the social support group.

Professor Felice Jacka, the study’s first author, said:

“We’ve known for some time that there is a clear association between the quality of people’s diets and their risk for depression.
This is the case across countries, cultures and age groups, with healthy diets associated with reduced risk, and unhealthy diets associated with increased risk for depression.
However, this is the first randomised controlled trial to directly test whether improving diet quality can actually treat clinical depression.”

diet

The dietitian encouraged people to eat more of the following food types:

  • vegetables,
  • fruits,
  • whole grains,
  • legumes,
  • fish,
  • lean red meats,
  • olive oil,
  • and nuts.

At the same time people were discouraged from eating:

  • sweets,
  • refined cereals,
  • fried food,
  • fast-food,
  • processed meats,
  • and sugary drinks.

Professor Jacka continued:

“These results were not explained by changes in physical activity or body weight, but were closely related to the extent of dietary change.
Those who adhered more closely to the dietary program experienced the greatest benefit to their depression symptoms.”

The study suggests that dietitians should be made available to those being treated for depression.

Professor Jacka said:

“Mental disorders account for the leading cause of disability worldwide, with depression accounting for the large proportion of that burden.
While approximately half of sufferers are helped by currently available medical and psychological therapies, new treatment options for depression are urgently needed.
Importantly, depression also increases the risk of and, in turn, is also increased by common physical illnesses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Successfully improving the quality of patients’ diets would also benefit these illnesses.”

The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine (Jacka et al., 2017).

FEBRUARY 15, 2017                source: PsyBlog


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The Case for Cashews

Two handfuls of cashews each day may keep depression at bay. A growing body of research has found that in lieu of taking a prescription drug, some people can turn to foods that are high in tryptophans, like cashews. Depressive episodes are often triggered when the body drops in serotonin and tryptophans can boost it again, but people tend to turn to nutrition as a last resort. One more natural source of tryptophan is cashews. “Several handfuls of cashews provide 1,000-2,000 milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressants,” says Dr. Andrew Saul, a therapeutic nutritionist and editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. The body turns tryptophan into serotonin, a major contributor to feelings of sexual desire, good mood, and healthy sleep.

The high levels of magnesium and vitamin B6 found in cashews may also help to stabilize mood. Approximately five ounces of cashews a day will provide a middle-aged man with his daily-required magnesium intake, a nutrient that, when low, can trigger mild depression. Vitamin B6 lends a hand to converting tryptophan into serotonin and helps magnesium enter into the body’s cells. It’s likely a trio of nutrients that help with depression. “You don’t want to think that one individual nutrient is the magic bullet,” says Saul.

By  Marykate Marley
 
cashews

Nutrition

         Cashews, raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 553 k cal (2,310 kJ)
Carbohydrates 30.19 g
Starch 0.74 g
Sugars 5.91 g
lactose  0.00 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 43.85 g
Saturated 7.783 g
Monounsaturated 23.797 g
Polyunsaturated 7.845 g
Protein 18.22 g

Vitamins

Vitamin A 0 IU
Thiamine (B1) (37%) 0.423 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (5%) 0.058 mg
Niacin (B3) (7%) 1.062 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (17%) 0.86 mg
Vitamin B6 (32%) 0.417 mg
Folate (B9) (6%) 25 μg
Vitamin B12 (0%) 0 μg
Vitamin C (1%) 0.5 mg
Vitamin D (0%) 0 μg
Vitamin E (6%) 0.90 mg
Vitamin K (32%) 34.1 μg

Minerals

Calcium (4%) 37 mg
Iron (51%) 6.68 mg
Magnesium (82%) 292 mg
Manganese (79%) 1.66 mg
Phosphorus (85%) 593 mg
Potassium (14%) 660 mg
Sodium (1%) 12 mg
Zinc (61%) 5.78 mg

Other constituents

Water 5.20 g

Units    μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams   IU = International units       
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.                 
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

In a 100-gram serving, raw cashews provide 553 Calories, 67% of the Daily Value (DV) in total fats, 36% DV of protein, 13% DV of dietary fiber and 11% DV of carbohydrates (table).[15] Cashews are rich sources (> 19% DV) of dietary minerals, including particularly copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium (79-110% DV), and of thiamin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K (32-37% DV) (table).[15] Iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium are present in significant content (14-61% DV) (table).[15] Cashews (100 grams, raw) contain 113 mg of beta-sitosterol.[15]
source: wikipedia.org


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A Gut Makeover for the New Year

If you’re making resolutions for a healthier new year, consider a gut makeover. Refashioning the community of bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiome, could be a good long-term investment in your health.

Trillions of microbial cells inhabit the human body, outnumbering human cells by 10 to one according to some estimates, and growing evidence suggests that the rich array of intestinal microbiota helps us process nutrients in the foods we eat, bolsters the immune system and does all sorts of odd jobs that promote sound health. A diminished microbial ecosystem, on the other hand, is believed to have consequences that extend far beyond the intestinal tract, affecting everything from allergies and inflammation, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, even mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Much of the composition of the microbiome is established early in life, shaped by forces like your genetics and whether you were breast-fed or bottle-fed. Microbial diversity may be further undermined by the typical high-calorie American diet, rich in sugar, meats and processed foods. But a new study in mice and people adds to evidence that suggests you can take steps to enrich your gut microbiota. Changing your diet to one containing a variety of plant-based foods, the new research suggests, may be crucial to achieving a healthier microbiome.

Altering your microbiome, however, may not be easy, and nobody knows how long it might take. That’s because the ecosystem already established in your gut determines how it absorbs and processes nutrients. So if the microbial community in your gut has been shaped by a daily diet of cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizza, for example, it won’t respond as quickly to a healthy diet as a gut shaped by vegetables and fruits that has more varied microbiota to begin with.

“The nutritional value of food is influenced in part by the microbial community that encounters that food,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, the senior author of the new paper and director of the Center for Genome Science and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Nutritional components of a healthy diet have to be viewed from “the inside out,” he said, “not just the outside in.”

One of the questions the study set out to answer was how individuals with different diets respond when they try to improve their eating habits. The scientists harvested gut bacteria from humans, transplanted them into mice bred under sterile conditions, and then fed the mice either American-style or plant-based diets. The scientists then analyzed changes in the mice’s microbial communities.

Of interest, the scientists harvested the gut bacteria from people who followed sharply different diets. One group ate a fairly typical American diet, consuming about 3,000 calories a day, high in animal proteins with few fruits and vegetables. Some of their favorite foods were processed cheese, pepperoni and lunch meats.

love-your-gut

The other group consisted of people who were devotees of calorie restriction. They ate less than 1,800 calories a day and had meticulously tracked what they ate for at least two years, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet and consuming far less animal protein than the other group, a third fewer carbohydrates and only half the fat.

This calorie-restricted group, the researchers found, had a far richer and more diverse microbial community in the gut than those eating a typical American diet. They also carried several strains of “good” bacteria, known to promote health, that are unique to their plant-based diet. “Their choices as adults dramatically influenced their gut community,” said Nicholas W. Griffin of Washington University, the paper’s lead author.

The study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, is not the first to report findings suggesting dietary shifts can induce persistent changes in a gut microbial community, said Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at Stanford University, who was not involved in the current research. He noted that other studies had found even more profound effects.

After the human microbiota was transplanted into the mice, the mice got to eat either like typical Americans or like the calorie restrictors.

Mice that had a microbiota conditioned by the typical American diet had a weaker response to the plant-based diet. Their microbial communities didn’t increase and diversify as much. “They all responded in a predictable direction, but with not as great a magnitude,” said Dr. Griffin.

Another aspect of the study suggests the company you keep may also enrich your gut microbiota — at least in mice. At first the animals were kept in separate cages. Then, when they were housed together, the microbes from the communities conditioned by plant diets made their way into the American-diet microbiome.

It’s not clear how that translates to humans: Mice eat one another’s droppings when they live together, so they easily share the bacterial wealth. Still, it’s possible humans have other ways of sharing bacteria, Dr. Griffin said. “We know from previous work and other studies that spouses who live together will develop microbial communities that are similar to each other,” he said.

Perhaps the best way to cultivate a healthier microbiome is to eat more fiber by consuming more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts or seeds, said Meghan Jardine, a registered dietitian who was not involved in the current study but has published articles on promoting a healthy microbiota. (She is also affiliated with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which recommends a plant-based diet.) She urges people to aim for 40 to 50 grams of fiber daily, well above levels recommended by most dietary guidelines.

“When you look at populations that eat real food that’s high in fiber, and more plant-based foods, you’re going to see they have a more robust microbiota, with more genetic diversity, healthier species and fewer pathogenic bacteria living in the gut,” she said.

By RONI CARYN RABIN     DEC. 29, 2016