Achieving greater longevity should be understood not only as the maximum possible length of human life, but it also indicates a higher quality of life in terms of good health. Healthy ageing, as proposed by the WHO in 2015 is defined as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional capacity that enables well-being in old age.”
With ageing comes a generalized and progressive deterioration of biological functions, a greater vulnerability to the environment and an increased risk of disease and death. This is because genetics contributes to 25% of the chances that occur and the remaining 75% of changes are due to accumulated diseases and environmental factors, such as diet, which is a modifiable factor.
There is evidence that healthy dietary patterns can modulate atherogenesis directly or through an effect on the plasma lipids, blood pressure, and blood glucose, all of which are associated with metabolic syndrome, which include a set of risk factors associated with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. It is also characterized by high blood pressure, hyperglycemia and lipid changes.
A group of researchers evaluated the relationship of nut consumption three or more days per week to the prevalence of abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome in an elderly population from the north of Spain. The results appear in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The study included a total of 556 participants aged between 65 and 79 years in the city of Santander, Spain. The aim of the study was to relate adherence to the consumption of 30 grams of nuts and dried fruit on 3 or more days a week with the prevalence of abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome.
The recommendation of nut consumption was defined using the MEDAS-14 questionnaire, and the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome was made using the International Diabetes Federation criteria.
Of the total participants 264 individuals aged 71.9 years had a 40.2% adherence to the recommendations, and of these individuals, 79.5% had abdominal obesity.
Lower than recommended nut consumption was associated with a 19% higher prevalence of abdominal obesity and a 61% higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, compared to those participants consuming ≥3 servings per week.
The researchers concluded that there was an inverse relationship between nut consumption and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity, and that it would be advisable to recommend older people to increase nut consumption as part of a healthy diet.
Cubas-Basterrechea, G., et al. (2022) The Regular Consumption of Nuts Is Associated with a Lower Prevalence of Abdominal Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Older People from the North of Spain. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031256.