Pecans may help protect against obesity and diabetes while improving gut health and reducing inflammation.
A new study involving mice from Texas A&M University examined the effects of pecans and a polyphenol extract from pecans on an otherwise high-fat diet. The results are published in the journal Nutrients.
A high-fat diet causes problems
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 46.6 percent of women and 60.5 percent of men in Central Europe are overweight (including obesity) and 19 percent of adults suffer from obesity.
Furthermore, according to the RKI, a total of 7.2 percent of people in Central Europe between the ages of 18 and 79 will be diagnosed with diabetes in the course of their lives, which corresponds to around 4.6 million cases. In addition, two percent of adults (1.3 million) have undiscovered diabetes.
“Obesity and diabetes are increasing in modern society worldwide, and the trend towards high-fat diets is one of the main reasons for this, along with lifestyle and genetic predisposition,” explains study author Professor Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos in a press release.
Reduce consequences of high-fat diets
The researchers therefore looked for ways to reduce the negative effects of the high-fat diet. They have now tested on mice whether pecan nuts can make a contribution here.
For the study, several groups of mice were fed various forms of high-fat diets, while one group ate a normal diet and served as controls.
In one of the high-fat diet groups, the mice were also given a pecan polyphenol extract to determine possible benefits of pecans, the researchers explain.
What effect do pecans have?
The team found that in mice fed a high-fat diet, pecans increased the animals’ energy expenditure while reducing inflammation and counteracting dysbiosis of the gut flora.
The researchers explain that pecan nuts also improved lipolysis of adipose tissue and mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in the liver and skeletal muscles.
Pecans can help maintain a healthy weight and prevent diabetes despite eating a high-fat diet, summarizes Professor Dr. Cisneros-Zevallos together.
According to Cisneros-Zevallos, the identified anti-inflammatory properties of pecans are primarily aimed at low-grade inflammation, which can lead to chronic inflammation and the development of numerous diseases. (as)