Small dietary changes can really make a difference when it comes to obesity and health. The Spanish researchers are well aware of this and published a very interesting article that appeared in the Nutrients journal a few weeks ago (Osorio Conles et al, Nutrients, 2022). In fact, as emerges from the research, following the guidelines of the Mediterranean diet with the addition of almonds allowed to counteract, in a few weeks, the harmful effects of being overweight and to increase the ability of adipose tissues to burn fat, but let's understand better.
The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Books, magazines and television programs leave plenty of room for the Mediterranean Diet, considered a true health-saving lifestyle. This diet also shows important benefits in the case of obesity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and improving the lipid profile, the level of inflammation and blood pressure. Even greater benefits in terms of heart health can be observed if almonds are added to the standard Mediterranean diet. In fact, almonds provide monounsaturated fatty acids, fibers and polyphenols with an anti-inflammatory action. Not only that, among all nuts, almonds are particularly rich in alpha tocopherol, a vitamin with an antioxidant action, useful for combating obesity, metabolic syndrome and the level of circulating lipids. Therefore, given these results, we can expect that the Mediterranean diet and almonds are protective for heart health and capable of counteracting the harmful effects of obesity. However, to date there was a lack of studies aimed at understanding what happens at the level of adipose tissue following a Mediterranean-type diet with the inclusion of almonds. To fill this gap, scientists have developed the study we are talking about today.
How to make adipose tissue burn more fat, the study
Scientists recruited 38 women, aged 18 to 68, with BMI over 40, therefore obese, and at least two indicators of metabolic syndrome (fasting glucose above 100 mg / dL, blood pressure above 130/85 mmHg, good cholesterol below 50 mg / dL and triglycerides above 150 mg / dL). The study participants were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to follow a Mediterranean-type diet for three months with the addition of almonds, 30 grams per day, while the volunteers included in the second group were asked to follow their normal diet instead. Before and at the end of these three months, the volunteers underwent medical examinations and tests to assess the level of inflammation and body health. What emerged is that in just three months the Mediterranean diet has been able to make important changes to the adipose tissue. In particular, to better understand the results obtained, it should be noted that adipose tissue is of two types, white and brown adipose tissue. White adipose tissue represents most of the adipose tissue in the body and is responsible for accumulating triglycerides for energy production based on the body's demands. Therefore, if the body has few demands, the accumulation of fats increases. In addition, in conditions of obesity the white adipose tissue undergoes dysfunctions that cause an increase in the release of inflammatory substances. The brown adipose tissue is responsible for triggering the processes of thermogenesis in response to the cold, mobilizing the accumulated triglycerides. Having made this necessary premise, we can better understand the results of the research. Well, three months of the Mediterranean diet with the addition of almonds decreased the levels of circulating pro-inflammatory substances, thus counteracting the dysfunctions of the white adipose tissue. Not only that, this diet has been able to trigger the processes to transform the white adipose tissue, which is responsible for accumulating fat, into a brown-like tissue, which experts call beige adipose tissue, which instead increases energy consumption. We therefore moved to a healthier fat profile. These changes were mainly observed in the visceral fat, which we know to be the most dangerous. These changes also led to a strengthening of the immune system. In fact, high levels of inflammation in the long run weaken our natural defenses.
Here is another proof of the importance of following a healthy and varied diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet, and of including nuts, such as almonds, perfect for mid-morning snacks. As we have seen, it only takes a few months, only three, for substantial changes to take place in our body capable of benefiting the heart and immune system.