In the lead up to Christmas, as many ideas of a healthy diet may be forgotten for a short while, it is important to still keep up to date with nutritional research. Here we pull together the latest studies and research articles for you to keep informed covering avocados and gut health through to the health benefits of chromium.

Avocados for gut health

Avocados may be seen as fashionable by society at the moment but research recently conducted by the University of Illinois, as reported by Science Daily, suggests that avocados could be beneficial to gut health too.

While it is not known how the avocados are supporting gut health, the trial, which involved 163 participants, saw a marked improvement in the group that ate an avocado a day compared to the test group that did not. The study took place over 12 weeks with participants providing blood, urine and faecal samples with the researchers looking to test the high fibre and fat content of avocados on gut health.

Speaking of avocado’s benefits in the study, lead study author, Hannah Holscher, said, “It's just a really nicely packaged fruit that contains nutrients that are important for health. Our work shows we can add benefits to gut health to that list”.

Mediterranean diet versus low fat diet

We’ve reported before how the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for health but how does it stack up against a low fat diet?

This Medical News Today article reports on a study that evaluated the two diets in their effects on heart health. Low fat may be seen as healthy, as the western world has somewhat demonised fat, but healthy fats can be incredibly beneficial to a range of functions in the body such as heart health, brain health and skin health. The study, named the Coronary Diet Intervention with Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Prevention study, evaluated 1,002 people with coronary heart disease who had not had a coronary event in the past 6 months and split them into two groups, one on a low fat diet for one year and the other following a Mediterranean diet for the same time period.

805 participants completed the study and found that the Mediterranean diet had a profound effect on heart health, improving the participants’ endothelial function. Research in this area is ongoing and not yet conclusive but it’s a positive step in understanding the role diet can play in heart health.

The health benefits of chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral that the body needs in order to function normally yet it is rarely spoken about in terms of nutritional research. This article by Verywell Health summarises some of the key facts about chromium and why it’s so important for our bodies.

Most notably, chromium is important because it regulates blood glucose levels; this, in turn, contributes to healthy weight management as it is associated with supporting a healthy metabolism and helps absorb and distribute nutrients.

Chromium, as well as supplement form, can be obtained through foods such as dairy products, broccoli, potatoes, green beans, beef, poultry, apples and bananas.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.