What do eggs, pecans, and dairy products have in common? Hint: It has to do with your risk of heart disease and cancer
07/23/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables can help boost your overall health. According to health experts, consuming certain foods like eggs and pecans can also help lower your risk of developing conditions such as cancer or diabetes.

Data from the Nutrition 2018 conference revealed that some foods have protective effects against certain health problems. Although the research is still preliminary and must continue through the peer-review process, information from the conference can help individuals who wish to stay healthy and prevent conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Eggs can reduce diabetes risk factors

In one study, researchers observed participants with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes who consumed either an egg or an egg substitute every day for 12 weeks. They found that those who ate whole eggs had improved blood sugar control compared with participants who ate egg substitutes.

The researchers didn't disclose what type of egg substitute the participants used, but a lot of popular egg substitutes only contain egg whites. Stephanie Clarke, registered dietitian and co-founder of C&J Nutrition, explained that egg whites contain the majority of the protein found in eggs.

However, egg yolks are rich in macro- and micronutrients like fat and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, B vitamins, choline, and the phytonutrients lutein and carotenoids. Egg yolks also have a higher percentage of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

While the scientists didn't identify a single nutrient or group of nutrients that may be responsible for the improved insulin sensitivity among the participants, Clarke posited that the interaction of several nutrients present in egg yolks and the protein in egg whites is behind the beneficial effect.


Certain dairy products can lower colorectal cancer risk

In a separate study, researchers analyzed data from 100,000 participants and found that higher dairy consumption is linked to a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

After further examination, the scientists noted that both low-fat dairy and fermented dairy help decrease cancer risk.

Clarke shared that the gut microbiota is made up of various microbial communities essential for gastrointestinal, immune, metabolic, and physiological functions. Any changes in the balance between good and bad microorganisms can result in the development of autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel diseases, and neurological diseases.

Probiotics found in fermented dairy like kefir and yogurt contain good bacteria that help re-establish microbial balance and keep pathogenic activity in check.

Data from a separate 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients also suggest that probiotics can decrease the levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. According to the researchers, consumption of probiotics can decrease certain inflammatory cytokines and biomarkers associated with conditions like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Pecans can help reduce cardiometabolic risk factors

Researchers from Tufts University studied how adding a daily 1.5 ounce serving of pecans can affect the diet of overweight and obese individuals. They found that volunteers who ate pecans every day had improved cardiometabolic risk factors compared with those who followed diets containing similar calories, total fat, and fiber but without pecans.

Willow Jarosh, the co-founder of C&J Nutrition, said that pecans are full of healthy fats. Adding pecans to your diet can displace less healthful fats and lower your cardiometabolic disease risk.

Pecans contain about 50 percent of the daily value (DV) of thiamine, a B vitamin essential for carbohydrate and energy metabolism. Thiamine deficiency is associated with cardiometabolic issues. (Related: Pecans are delicious, nutrient-packed powerhouses that reduce the risk of certain cancers.)

Data from earlier studies also suggest that adding pecans to your diet can increase gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E. Increased levels of gamma-tocopherol can help fight cardiovascular disease. Jarosh explained that gamma-tocopherol can trap reactive oxygen species, preventing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation and inflammation.

Follow a balanced diet and consume eggs, dairy products, and pecans in moderation to lower your risk of developing health conditions like diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiometabolic disease.

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