A healthy diet may reduce the impact of infections.
That's taken from the December 2012 issue of the health newsletter Focus on Healthy Living published by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. This school is one of the top 20 medical schools in the U.S.
The newsletter was reporting on a study published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The study was done by the department of Oncology of the University of Sheffield in England. They followed 217 adults ages 65-85 for six months to determine the frequency of infections in adults on dietary programs.
These folks were randomly assigned to three groups. One group was placed on a diet in which they were asked to consume at least five portions of vegetables and fruits daily, only whole grain bread, fish twice weekly and nuts at least once a week. The second group did not change diet but was to add a supplement with micronutrients. The third group continued with regular diets and received a placebo to take.
The participants were to report the number of visits to a hospital or general practitioner. Since the study was done in the United Kingdom I assume the general practitioner would be the equivalent of a family practice doctor in the U.S.
The results were what is, of course, of significant interest. The special food group had significantly lower self-reported symptoms of infection than the two other groups.
As far as the use of nuts it was the Adventist Health Study No. 1 that first reported the health benefits of eating nuts, and the Adventist Health Study No. 2 amplified our understanding. Both of those studies have been funded by the U.S. government.
It has been shown that the more frequent eating of nuts, such as 5-7 times a week, has greater benefits than just once a week. The suggested amount is 1-2 ounces of unsalted nuts.
Seeds such as flax, pumpkin and sunflower may show the same health benefits.
So once again, the benefits of healthy eating habits have been shown.
Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician who is passionate about preventive medicine. He spent four years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, the last 21/2 years as a flight surgeon. He also worked on the Navajo Reservation for 22 years.