Thu. May 26th, 2022

Eating a moderate amount of nuts and seeds every day seems to prevent non-alcoholic fatty disease, new research from Deakin University has found.

Non-alcoholic fatty disease (NAFLD) occurs when fat accumulates in the liver and affects between 20 and 30 percent of the global population.

There are no symptoms and when it is not marked, it can progress to an advanced form known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – where the buildup causes inflammation and can lead to scarring of the liver.

Lead researcher, Dr. Elena George, from Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, told her examination found that eating as little as 15-30 grams of nuts and seeds a day could reduce the likelihood of non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Non-alcoholic liver disease can progress to liver failure or cancer. Photo: Getty

Men and women seem to react differently to nuts in their diet.

Dr. George said women appear to benefit from “any amount of nut intake,” while the benefits for men only occurred when they ate between 15 grams and 30 grams of nuts and seeds most days.

The results of the study

  • For men, there was a 9 percent lower incidence of NAFLD in those who ingested between 15 grams and 30 grams of nuts and seeds compared to men who did not ingest nuts and seeds.
  • There were no significant differences for men consuming less than 15 grams or more than 30 grams of nuts and seeds.
  • For women, there was a 7 percent lower incidence of NAFLD for those who ingested less than 15 grams of nuts and seeds a day.
  • For women who consumed between 15 grams and 30 grams a day, there was a 15 percent lower incidence.
  • Interestingly, there seems to be a ceiling on the benefits. For women who ingested more than 30 grams a day, there was a 14 percent lower incidence, compared to women who did not eat nuts and seeds.

Dr. George said that this apparent decline in benefit could possibly be explained by a greater consumption of nuts, reflecting a greater consumption of all foods.

All nuts seem to be beneficial

The researchers analyzed nut intake and NAFLD prevalence among more than 25,000 people aged 18 and over from National Survey of Health and Nutrition Studies (NHANES).

The study is a study program designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The study combines interviews and physical examinations.

The analysis excluded chestnuts because they are low in fat and coconuts because they contain a lot of saturated fat.

Otherwise, the study included almonds, almond butter, Brazil nuts, cashews, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts and peanut butter.

Seeds included in the study: pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sesame butter, sunflower seeds, psyllium seeds and chia seeds.

Dr. George said these have a similar nutritional composition that is high in unsaturated fats and fiber and antioxidants.

Why these findings are important

Non-alcoholic liver disease is one of the conditions that can easily go undetected. There are no symptoms, even when the condition initially develops into scarring of the liver.

A liver function test shows that you have a fatty liver, but it is up to your doctor to realize the need for a test or schedule one as part of an annual checkup.

Once detected, it is up to the patient to introduce lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) because there is no drug treatment.

Dr. George said the introduction of nuts and seeds into your diet “can be a simple way to help prevent chronic liver disease as well as provide other benefits already established in science”.

She said nuts and seeds are rich food sources of unsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidant compounds, which are associated with a decrease in inflammatory markers and increased antioxidant capacity.

This was an observational study. In January, dr. George and her colleagues are recruiting participants for a clinical study that will investigate the impact of the Mediterranean diet on liver health, including an analysis of nut consumption.

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