Wednesday July 17, 2019

Keep Obesity At Bay With Flaxseeds

The team also found evidence that the bacteria present ferment fibres from the thick, glue-like layer of the flaxseed shell. 

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Obesity, Asthma
Asthma may up obesity risk. Pixabay

Besides improving your heart health, consuming flaxseeds can also cause changes in the gut microbiota, boost metabolic health as well as protect against diet-induced obesity, finds a study.

Flaxseed is a fibre-rich plant that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and inflammation in the colon. However, there is little research on how flaxseed fibre affects gut microbiota.

In the study, conducted on mice, those that received flaxseed supplements were more physically active and had less weight gain than those on other high-fat diet groups.

They also had better glucose control and levels of beneficial fatty acids.

BMI, Asthma Risk
High BMI in early life is linked to asthma risk later: Study. Pixabay

The breakdown of dietary fibre in the gut — a process called fermentation — can produce favourable changes in the digestive system.

It can increase beneficial fatty acids, which may reduce the production of adipose tissue in the body and improve immune function, explained the researchers, in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

“Our data suggest that flaxseed fibre supplementation affects host metabolism by increasing energy expenditure and reducing obesity as well as by improving glucose tolerance,” said Fredrik Backhed from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

For the study, the team studied mice assigned to four different diets for 12 weeks.

7 healthy indian foods
flaxseeds representational image (istock)

The high-fat group had fewer bacteria associated with improved metabolic health, lower levels of beneficial fatty acids and more of a bacterium linked to obesity when compared to the other groups.

Bacteria levels in both the cellulose and flaxseed groups returned to healthier levels when compared to the high-fat group.

Also Read: Researchers Find Molecule Effective Against Tuberculosis

The team also found evidence that the bacteria present ferment fibres from the thick, glue-like layer of the flaxseed shell.

The bacteria that perform fermentation then produce more beneficial fatty acids.

“Future research should be directed to understand relative contribution of the different microbes and delineate underlying mechanisms for how flaxseed fibres affect host metabolism,” the researchers noted. (IANS)

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UN: Global Hunger Levels Stabilizing, While Obesity Rates are Skyrocketing

For the first time, the U.N. agencies were able to gather data on world obesity rates, which are hitting record levels

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hunger, obesity
A man waits to receive food aid outside a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Dombe, Mozambique, April 4, 2019. VOA

The United Nations says more than 820 million people around the world are hungry, while at same time, obesity is hitting record levels.

A report released Monday by five U.N. agencies dealing with food, nutrition and health says that while hunger levels have mostly stabilized, more people around the world are anxious about where their family’s next meal will come from.

“People that feel insecure  insecure because they are in areas under conflict, insecure because they are in countries with high levels of inflation, insecure because they are very low paid that they will not have money to buy their food — this number reached 2 billion people around the world,” José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said at the report’s launch. “This is really a big, big number. We were surprised when we found this figure.”

obesity, hunger
FILE – Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). VOA

The report notes the highest hunger rates are in Africa and growing steadily in almost all parts of the subcontinent, where climate and conflict, economic slowdowns and downturns have driven more than 256 million people into a state of food insecurity.

In Asia, more than 500 million people, primarily in the southern part of the continent, are suffering from malnutrition. This sort of hunger has lasting impacts on its victims, especially children, who suffer from stunting and wasting.

“So the question is what are we going to do about it?” asked World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley. “Because if these were your little girls and your little boys, I guarantee you, you’d be doing everything you could to do something about it.”

Beasley said the problem of world hunger is solvable, but is not achievable without ending war and conflicts, which consume a huge portion of the global economy that could be used for development.

obesity, hunger
David Beasley, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) executive director, speaks during a press conference in Seoul, May 15, 2018, after his visit to North Korea. VOA

Obesity a global epidemic

For the first time, the U.N. agencies were able to gather data on world obesity rates, which are skyrocketing. “We have about 830 million obese people in the world,” said the FAO’s Graziano da Silva. “That’s happening in most continents except Africa and Asia.”

He said trends indicate that the numbers of overweight and obese people in Africa and Asia would soon exceed those who are hungry.  Graziano da Silva said obesity rates are rising by 6.3% and 7.5% per year respectively in Africa and Asia, while the global average is 4.8%.

ALSO READ: Scientists Closing in on Blood Test to Screen People for Possible Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

“It’s really a global epidemic issue the way obesity is rising and how fast it is rising,” Graziano da Silva added. The cost of obesity is very high, some $2 trillion a year in related illnesses and other side effects.

Graziano da Silva urged better labeling of foods, reducing the levels of salt, fats and sugars in processed foods and restricting advertising for some products geared toward children. He noted healthy and fresh foods also need to be promoted and access to them needs to be increased for some populations. (VOA)