Eat More Kale, Walnuts and Wild Salmon, Researchers Say; Work Published in California Agriculture Journal
July 14, 2011
Discussing their work are researchers Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Angela Zivkovic, associate director of scientific development and translation, Food for Health Institute, and a former post-doctoral researcher in the Hammock lab. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--Eat more kale, walnuts, flax seeds, wild salmon, anchovies, mackerel and tuna. And eggs from flax-fed chickens.
Those are among the foods with relatively large concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids “that can aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health,” according to researchers affiliated with the UC Davis Foods for Health Institute and the Bruce Hammock lab of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. The work is published in the current edition of the California Agriculture journal.
“Although omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in autoimmune disorders, inflammatory diseases and heart disease, they are generally underrepresented in the American diet,” they wrote in the abstract. “A literature review confirms that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids — whether in food sources such as walnuts, flax seeds and fatty fish (including salmon and sardines), or in supplements — is associated with decreased morbidity and mortality.”
The authors noted that “this growing body of evidence, including the results of a recent study of patients with kidney disease, highlights the need to measure omega-3 fatty acids and their oxylipin products as markers of metabolic health and biomarkers of disease. In addition, there is substantial evidence of the need to increase the omega-3 fatty acid content of American diets to optimize metabolic health.”
“The typical American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids,” said Zivkovic, associate director of scientific development and translation, Food for Health Institute, and a former post-doctoral researcher in the Hammock lab.
“Cardiovascular disease? Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in reducing cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States,” Zivkovic said.
“Kidney disease? Animal trials show that omega-3 fatty acid treatment decreases blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory effects, slows rental failure and moderates the side effects of hypertension.”
“Neurological disease? There is increasing evidence that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) specifically plays a significant role in neurological development and disease prevention.” Zivkovic said there’s a strong correlation between depression and DHA deficiency. “DHA has also been strongly correlated with neurodegenerative disease common in the elderly population, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.”
“Arthritis? Omega-3 fatty acid intake is associated with the improvement of rheumatoid arthritis, as omega-3 metabolites inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines responsive for arthritic pain.”
Zivkovic frequently collaborates with Bruce Hammock, a distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology; and food scientist Bruce German, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Also working on the journal article was UC Davis student Natalie Telis, an intern at the Food for Health Institute.
The entire July-September edition of California Agriculture is devoted to “Food as Medicine: Can What We Eat Help Cure What Ails Us?”
Online Text of Journal Article
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology