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Vegetarians Show Lower Risk Markers

Nutritionists in Slovakia assessed markers of age-related disease in healthy, non-obese, non-smoking women age 60-70 years, comparing 45 vegetarians / semi-vegetarians with 38 non-vegetarians. Vegetarians had significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, glucose, insulin and insulin resistance compared to non-vegetarians. They also had much higher antioxidant plasma concentrations.
Bratislavské Lekárske Listy. 2011; 112(11):610-3 (Krajcovicova-Kudlackova et al.)

Turmeric Component May Reduce Inflammation

Scientists at the University of Buffalo reviewed several studies to assess the effect of curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric.  Experiments using animal models suggest that curcumin may have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects and may regulate lipid metabolism.  These properties suggest that curcumin may have a role in the treatment of conditions associated with obesity.
Nutrition Review. 2010 Dec; 68(12):729-738.  (Alappat et al.)

Omega-3 May Reduce Risk of Dental Disease

You are told to brush, floss, and rinse every day, but has your dentist told you to consume more Omega 3 fatty acids lately? He should, according the latest study from Japan comparing levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the prevalence of dental diseases. “People with low DHA intake had an approximately 1.5 times higher incidence rate ratio of periodontal disease progression,” wrote the researchers. Omega-3 fatty acids of marine and plant origin were found to have strong anti-bacterial activity against a range of oral pathogens, which may be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids. “In periodontal diseases, bacteria trigger inflammatory host responses that cause destruction of the alveolar bone and periodontal connective tissue,” explained the researchers. The Mediterranean Diet features ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, nuts, legumes and vegetables. This pattern of eating is already known to protect against certain kinds of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Now there is one more reason to try it. (Related article).

Nutrition. November-December 2010; 26(11-12):1105-9 [Epub January 25, 2010]

Low Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status in Vegans

Researchers at the University of Vienna compared the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and semi-omnivores to assess essential fatty acid status as it relates to diet. They found that vegans had the highest average ratio of omega-6:omega3 PUFAs. High ratios are believed to be pro-inflammatory and may also contribute to tissue decline and neurological dysfunction. While the authors emphasize the need for further research on this topic, they also urge vegetarians and especially vegans to increase their intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from non-animal sources such as algae.
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008 Apr;52:37-47. (Kornsteiner et al.)

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