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In the news – health and nutrition research

In this week’s blog we provide a roundup of some of the most recent health and nutrition related articles in the news, five items comprising:

  • Probiotics taken alongside antibiotics can help to preserve gut diversity
  • Dark chocolate may support mood via the gut-brain axis
  • Flavonoid intake could reduce cardiovascular risk
  • Flavanol intake may be associated with slower cognitive decline
  • The anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet could improve fertility

Probiotics taken alongside antibiotics can help to preserve gut diversity

A new paper published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology is, surprisingly, the first systematic review to assess the effect of taking probiotics alongside antibiotics on the diversity and composition of the human gut microbiome and evaluates trends across 29 studies from the past 7 years. The authors found that taking probiotics alongside antibiotics can help protect species diversity and lessen or even prevent some antibiotic-induced changes to gut microbiome composition. There is evidence that antibiotics can cause long-lasting disruption to the microbiome, but probiotics can help to sustain the high level of diversity that is observed in the healthy gut.

Read the full article here: Effect of adding probiotics to an antibiotic intervention on the human gut microbial diversity and composition: a systematic review | Microbiology Society (microbiologyresearch.org)

You might also like our blog: Probiotics – what are they and how do they work?

Dark chocolate may support mood via the gut-brain axis

In this randomized controlled trial, the effect of dark chocolate intake on mood was examined. Participants were assigned to one of 3 groups: control group, 70% cocoa group and 85% cocoa group. Results showed that those in the 85% cocoa group saw significant improvement in negative emotional states, which coincided with an increase in gut microbial diversity, but the 70% group did not see the same benefits. The results suggest that consuming dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content exerts a prebiotic effect, promoting microbiome diversity and supporting mood via the gut-brain axis.

Read the full article here: Nutrition Evidence (nutrition-evidence.com)

You might also like to read our blog: The health benefits of dark chocolate

Flavonoid intake could reduce cardiovascular risk

A recent study on the dietary habits of 881 elderly women found that those who consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet were far less likely to have an extensive build up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC). The abdominal aorta is the largest artery in the body, supplying oxygenated blood from the heart to the abdominal organs and lower limbs, and its calcification is a predictor of cardiovascular risk such as heart attack and stroke, as well as late-life dementia.

Particularly rich sources of flavonoids regularly consumed in the study included blueberries, strawberries, citrus fruit, apples, raisins/grapes and dark chocolate – but it was the humble cup of black tea that was the study cohort’s main source of flavonoids and showed the most significant reduction in odds of extensive AAC.

Read the full article here: Higher Habitual Dietary Flavonoid Intake Associates With Less Extensive Abdominal Aortic Calcification in a Cohort of Older Women | Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ahajournals.org)

You may also like to read: Cardiovascular disease – the role of inflammation and oxidative stress

Flavanol intake may be associated with slower cognitive decline

Another focus on flavanols; a group of flavonoids found in several fruits and vegetables, as well as tea and red wine were shown in one study to have the potential to contribute to a slower rate of memory decline. In a group of elderly participants, without dementia, those with the highest flavanol intake, as determined via a food questionnaire, demonstrated the slowest rate of cognitive decline. This effect is likely to be due to the inherent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavanols.

The study also analysed the individual flavanol constituents and found that kaempferol, found in tea, kale, beans, spinach and broccoli, and quercetin, found in tea, tomatoes apple and kale had the greatest association with slowing cognitive decline.

Read the full article, available here: Association of Dietary Intake of Flavonols With Changes in Global Cognition and Several Cognitive Abilities | Neurology

You may also like our blog: Can eating the rainbow support healthy cognition?

The anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet could improve fertility

Inflammation is known to detrimentally effect fertility, showing effects on sperm quality, menstrual cycles and implantation – and this recent Australian study examined the effects of an “anti-inflammatory diet” such as the Mediterranean diet on fertility. The researchers found that adhering to this diet, which increases the intake of monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, flavonoids, and reduced intake of red and processed meat can reduce inflammation and therefore offer a potential low-cost, low-risk and non-invasive way to improve fertility outcomes – as well as our general health.

Read the full article here: A Mediterranean diet not only boosts health, but also improves fertility — ScienceDaily

You may also like our blog: Fertility and pregnancy – the importance of nutrition

If you have questions regarding the topics that have been raised, or any other health matters, please do contact our team of Nutritional Therapists.

01684 310099


Last updated on 11th January 2023 by cytoffice


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