Excessive consumption of high-calorie foods is one of the causes of overweight and obesity. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) report that in 2014 more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight, of them more than 600 million were obese worldwide. On the other hand, consuming the combination of plant-derived proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and antioxidant compounds prevents cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes.

Changes in life styles and nutrition in Mexico have caused an alarming overweight and obesity pandemic. Overweight cases have grown rapidly in recent years; approximately, 7 of 10 adults and 1 in 3 teenagers are overweight in the country. Recent studies have shown than many Mexicans carry genes associated with obesity, however increased overweight in the country manifested until relatively recently.

Researchers from the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition ’Salvador Zubirán’ (INCMNSZ) analyze the effects of a diet based on pre-Hispanic foods on people who present metabolic, cognitive and intestinal microbiota alterations caused by a diet high in saturated fat and sugars. This pre-Hispanic diet is based on a group of products originating in the region before the Spaniards discovered the territory; these are corn, beans, nopal, tomato, pumpkin seeds and chia. The goal is understand if this diet can regulate gene expression in a molecular level.

INCMNSZ researcher Dr. Nimbe Torres y Torres said they feed animal models of obesity with this diet. “After several months of consuming it, we measured what happened in their liver, adipose tissue and intestinal microbiota.” The researchers observed an improvement in biochemical parameters and adipose tissue was lower.

Other findings include the antioxidant activity of the pre-Hispanic diet, 10 times more than current diets. In addition, the consumption of seeds such as chia or pumpkin, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, help oxidize fat and decrease genes that encode triglyceride synthesis.

Nopal has soluble fiber and a low glycemic index that helps to avoid raising glucose concentrations; Bean is one of the best sources of protein, fiber and resistant starches that serve as food for beneficial bacteria in the intestine,” explained the Nutrigenomics specialist.

After 36 years of work in Nutrition Physiology, Dr. Nimbe Torres y Torres added that they also found that the consumption of the pre-Hispanic diet improves memory and cognitive function based on the hippocampus. “We saw that those that were obese had a decrease in their cognitive function; however, those that consumed these pre-Hispanic foods had an improvement in their memory.”

 

Source: Agencia ID