Thursday, June 7, 2012

High Fiber, Lo-Carb Diet Lowers Risk of Inflammatory Diseases

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have published the result of a study showing that a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with the onset of chronic disease. The work, reported in The Journal of Nutrition, explains that a diet rich in high-fiber foods significantly improves insulin signaling and resistance that promote life-shortening diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, stroke and dementia.

Monitoring the glycemic-load of different foods lowers the risk of blood glucose spikes and also increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar. Health minded individuals will want to ensure they eat between thirty and fifty grams of fiber from a variety of food sources each day to control systemic inflammation and lower disease risk.

Low Glycemic Diet Lowers Inflammatory Blood Marker by Nearly a Quarter
The random controlled study involved eighty healthy men and women selected from the Seattle, WA area. Half were considered to be of normal weight, and the other half were overweight or obese as measured on a standardized BMI scale. Researchers found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low-glycemic-load diet reduced a biomarker of inflammation called C-reactive protein by about 22 percent.

Other studies in the past have suggested a correlation between dietary carbohydrate and sugar consumption as measured by the glycemic index of foods and systemic inflammation. This research is important because the C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.

Lowering Blood Glucose Levels Increases Adiponectin to Guard Against Cancer and Diabetes
Dr. Marian Neuhouser, a member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center noted “Lowering inflammatory factors is important for reducing a broad range of health risks. Showing that a low-glycemic-load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese.”

Neuhouser and her team also found that increasing low glycemic load foods in the participants diet by just five percent resulted in increased blood levels of a protein hormone called adiponectin. The hormone is known to protect against a number of different cancer lines as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.

Many health-minded people know the importance of avoiding processed carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods while increasing dietary fiber. Dr. Neuhouser concluded “Whenever possible, choose carbohydrates that are less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood glucose… these types of low-glycemic-load carbs include whole grains; legumes such as kidney beans, soy beans, pinto beans and lentils as well as fruits such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and pears.” This study provides another chapter to the growing body of research that demonstrates the importance of dietary choices to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and most chronic illnesses.

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