Doctoral thesis: Nordic superfood may help prevent cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes
Researcher Maria Lankinen`s doctoral thesis shows that rye bread, fatty fish and bilberries, i.e. the cornerstones of the Nordic diet, are superfoods in the true meaning of the word. The consumption of these superfoods causes significant and beneficial changes in blood lipid levels and their inclusion in the diet can be used to affect blood lipid concentrations associated with, e.g., inflammation and type 2 diabetes.
In Lankinen`s study, a group of persons with elevated risk for type 2 diabetes
and cardiovascular diseases increased their intake of rye bread, fatty fish
and bilberries for a period of 8–12 weeks. The control group, on the other
hand, avoided these foods and replaced, for example, rye bread by white bread.
The changes in the lipid metabolism before and after the dietary intervention
were seen in the group members’ serum lipidomic profiles.
The results showed that grain products with a high insulin response (e.g. white bread) increased the blood lipid concentrations associated with inflammation, whereas a generous consumption of fatty fish decreased the blood lipid concentrations associated with inflammation and reduced glucose metabolism. Furthermore, the combined intake of whole grain and rye products, fatty fish and bilberries and their effects on blood lipids were also associated with improved glucose and insulin metabolism, which is known to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Rye bread as a weight management aid
In addition to examining the effects of fibre-rich rye bread on the lipidomic profile, the study also charted the effects of rye bread on approximately 200 other metabolic products. The consumption of fibre-rich rye bread was linked to metabolic products possibly enhancing the sensation of satiety and the inclusion of rye bread in the diet may play a role as a weight loss and weight management aid.
The results were presented in a doctoral dissertation in the field of clinical nutrition written by Maria Lankinen, MHSc, at the University of Eastern Finland, and they have been published in NMCD, PLos ONE and Journal of Nutrition. The most recent methods of metabolomics and lipidomics were used in the study and they allow a more detailed characterisation of the effects of a diet on metabolism than the field’s traditional research methods.
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