Forget apples, eating fish and nuts are the way to keep the doctor and the dentist away…

GumsIs there no end to the benefits bestowed upon us by the multi-talented good fats?

The old saying goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor/ dentist away – delete former/latter depending on your generation. But there seems to be something which can knock any fruit or vegetable into a cocked hat: yes, the humble polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

A new piece of research has suggested that Omega 3 fatty acids found in foods such as oily fish, nuts and eggs will help people avoid gum disease and the more serious periodontitis.

The research examined the diet of 182 adults between 1999 and 2004, and found that those who consumed the highest amounts of fatty acids were a whole 30 per cent less likely to develop gum disease and 20 per cent less likely to develop periodontitis (severe gum disease).

Lead researcher of the study, Dr Asghar Z. Naqvi of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, said: “We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are inversely associated with periodontitis in the US population.”

As a result of this research, Dr Naqvi believes that dietary therapy could become a less expensive and safer way of preventing/treating periodontitis. Currently treatment involves mechanical cleaning and the application of antibiotics. Encouraging sufferers to eat more fish and nuts would also benefit their health in other ways.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “Most people suffer from gum disease at some point in their life. What people tend not to realise is that it can actually lead to tooth loss if left untreated… This study shows that a small and relatively easy change in people’s diet can massively improve the condition of their teeth and gums, which in turn can improve their overall wellbeing.”

The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Gum disease is caused by plaque (the film of bacteria that forms on the surface of the teeth). To prevent and treat gum disease all the plaque must be removed from the teeth every day by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. This should be followed by cleaning in between teeth with interdental brushes or floss.

Inflammation and soreness of the gums is one of the first signs of gum disease, and often gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning. You will notice your gums look puffy and inflamed where they meet your teeth.

Over time gum disease becomes more severe and can impact the tissues supporting the teeth. The bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost and the teeth become loose, if not treated this can lead to teeth eventually falling out. 

Anyone with inflamed and bleeding gums should visit their dentist to find out the appropriate way to treat it. If caught early, gum disease can be easily cured by short term use of medicated gels and mouthwash.

The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 39-year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health.

The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, they can be contacted by email on

The Foundation’s website can be found at



Sea Bass with Lemon and Dill

Sea Bass with Lemon and Dill
(barbecue recipe)



FB-Sea-Bass-w-Lemon-Dill-HR_p [640x480].jpgPreparation time: 10 minutes + marinating time
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 4

2 medium sea bass, cleaned and descaled
6 tbsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 lemon sliced
Handful of fresh dill sprigs


1. Use a sharp knife to cut slashes in the fish skin. Mix the oil, lemon juice and half the dill together in a shallow non-metallic dish. Push the lemon slices and remaining dill inside the fish cavity. Place the fish in the marinade and spoon the juices all over and inside the fish. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge, turning the fish at least once.
2. To barbecue, lift the fish from the marinade and place on a large piece of foil, fold over the foil and scrunch the edges to seal and make a tight parcel. Cook the fish over hot barbecue coals for 15-20 mins, turning once until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

National Vegetarian Week (UK) – 18-24 May 2009

London This May it’s time to dust off your recipe books and make a fresh start for summer. Grab your shopping list, freshen up your table and try out a few new ingredients as you brush up on a healthy, cheap and delicious way of eating. From 18-24 May it’s National Vegetarian Week 2009 and the Vegetarian Society has some great tasting meat free recipes for you to try. Call + 44 (0)161 925 2000 to get hold of our new veggie pack or visit

National Vegetarian Week 2009 18-24 May 2009 is sponsored by Cauldron Foods. Cauldron Foods together with the Vegetarian Society are encouraging more people to discover the possibilities and benefits of vegetarian cooking.

From tasty morsels for sharing at barbecues and picnics, through to everyday meals for friends and families or cheap meals for under £5 – vegetarian food has something for everyone. The Week is also a great time to brush up on your foodie know how. The often asked questions of where do you get your vitamins and minerals from? Won’t I be short of iron?

National Vegetarian Week (NVW) is the annual awareness-raising campaign promoting inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle. Last year over 1400 businesses, schools, pubs, caterers, libraries and retailers all got involved with finding out the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle.
More information:
· The Vegetarian Society of the UK (founded in 1847) was the first organisation worldwide to adopt the term “vegetarian”. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or slaughter by-products.

Fish oil taken during pregnancy reduces child asthma


The risk of developing asthma has been reduced by 63% in children whose mothers were given fish oil supplements during the last trimester of their pregnancy as part of a European research project on nutrition.

The research is part of a broader project on early nutritional programming which involves experts from 16 countries and is financed by the European Commission’s research programme.

The Danish researchers originally carried out a trial with 500 pregnant women in the last 10 weeks of their pregnancy in 1990 to examine the effect of fish oils on pre-term birth and low birth weight. One group was given fish oil supplements, another olive oil supplements and the third no supplements.

When the babies born in that trial were later traced, it was found that by the age of 16, 19 children had developed such severe asthma at some point that they had had to go to hospital. However, fewer of these children were in the fish oil group than the other two. The risk of developing asthma was reduced by 63% in those whose mothers had been given fish oil supplements.

There is strong biochemical evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may have effects on the immune system. The reason fish oil might protect a foetus from developing asthma in later life could possibly also be related to its effect on increasing pregnancy duration.

Pre-term children have a higher risk of developing asthma and it is possible that the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils could both reduce the risk of pre-term birth and the likelihood of a baby later becoming asthmatic. It may be that the period shortly before delivery is the critical window for these effects of omega 3 fatty acids. However, further trials are necessary before dietary recommendations for pregnant women should be changed.

The research is published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Omega-3 boost mood, say Australian scientists

Sydney: Omega-3, an oil found in oily fish is now credited with improving mood and compating depression, according to Australian scientists.

Already credited with boosting brain power and healthy heart, it is also capable of boosting mood.

Australian dietician Dr Dianne Volker, of the University of Sydney, and Jade Ng, of food wholesaler Goodman Fielder, of New South Wales, found evidence that Omega-3 combats depression.

The results of their study will be published in Nutrition and Dietetics next month.

Earlier this month the UK government announced that millions of heart-attack survivors will be prescribed daily fish oil supplements for life on the National Health Service to reduce the risk of a second attack. The best source of omega 3 fatty acids is mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines or trout because the human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids.

Oily fish can help obesity

Adelaide: Oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and herrings, can help you loose pounds, a new study from the University of Adelaide has discovered.

The secret ingredient is omega 3, a beneficial oil contained in the fish. These oils have already been linked to a healthier brain, eyes and arthritis. It is thought that these oils work by helping people who are insulin-resistant which they eat more sugary foods, leading to obesity and diabetes.

Researchers found that patients who ate oily fish daily and exercised lost weight even though they did not give up their usual foods. They lost more than four pounds on average over three months.

Fatty acids, such as omega 3, increase the ability of cell membranes to use up blood glucose, meaning there is less left over to turn into excess fat.

The new research was presented at the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids Lipids’ annual conference in Australia.

Fish oil health benefits not clear, says new study

London: A new study by the published online by the British Medical Journal today doesn’t find evidence of a clear benefit of omega 3 fats on health.

These findings do not rule out an important effect of omega 3 fats, but suggest that the evidence should be reviewed regularly, say the researchers.

Consumption of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and fish oils, and a shorter chain omega 3, found in some plant oils, is thought to protect against heart disease. UK guidelines encourage the general public to eat more oily fish, and higher amounts are advised after a heart attack.

Researchers analysed 89 studies (48 randomised controlled trials and 41 cohort studies) to assess the health effects of long and short chain omega 3 fats on total mortality, cardiovascular events, cancer, and strokes.

Each study involved a treatment group and a control group and investigated the effect of omega 3 intake on health for at least six months. Differences in study quality were taken into account to identify and minimise bias.

Pooling the results showed no strong evidence that omega 3 fats have an effect on total mortality or combined cardiovascular events. The few studies at low risk of bias were more consistent, but they also showed no effect of omega 3 on total mortality or cardiovascular events.

When data on long chain omega 3 fats were analysed separately, total mortality and cardiovascular events were not reduced. No study showed increased risk of cancer or stroke with higher intake of omega 3, but there were too few events to rule out important effects.

Other recent reviews of omega 3 trials found that omega 3 fats decrease mortality, but the publication of a large contradictory trial has changed the overall picture. The authors cannot say exactly why the results of this trial differ from the other large studies in this field.

They therefore conclude that it is not clear whether long chain or short chain omega 3 fats (together or separately) reduce or increase total mortality, cardiovascular events, cancer, or strokes.

UK guidelines advising people to eat more oily fish should continue at present but the evidence should be reviewed regularly, say the authors. However, it is probably not appropriate to recommend a high intake of omega 3 fats for people who have angina but have not had a heart attack.

To understand the effects of omega 3 fats on health, we need more high quality randomised controlled trials of long duration that also report the associated harms, they conclude.

We are faced with a paradox, says Eric Brunner in an accompanying editorial. Health recommendations advise increased consumption of oily fish and fish oils. However, industrial fishing has depleted the world’s fish stocks by some 90% since 1950, and rising fish prices reduce affordability particularly for people with low incomes.

Global production trends suggest that, although fish farming is expanding rapidly, we probably do not have a sustainable supply of long chain omega 3 fats, he warns.

Oily fish may prevent spread of prostate cancer

Manchester: Including oily fish, containing Omega 3 fatty acids may prevent the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the border, according to research by the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at the Christie Hospital.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and is particularly dangerous if it infects areas such as bone marrow.

Omega 3 fats, found in mackerel, fresh tuna, salmon and sardines, have already been found to cut the risk of contracting the cancer. And this research suggests they might prevent a more aggressive form of the disease developing particularly when Omega 3 is combined with Omega 6 oils.

The experts looked at prostate cells in the laboratory and examined the extent to which they spread to bone marrow.

Both types of oils are essential for good health, but a balance could be required as omega 6 was found to help cancer to spread.

Dr Mick Brown, chief scientist in the research group, said that Omega 6 fats, found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, increased the spread of tumour cells into bone marrow. And this was blocked by Omega 3, so a balance was required.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, may also help in the development of drugs to stop other cancers, such as breast cancer, from spreading in the body.

Other research shows that a daily dose of fish oils could help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.

A team from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London looked at the effect of omega 3 supplements on the number of glutamate receptors in the brains of aging rats. These are known to be essential to memory and alertness.

After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the concentration of glutamate receptors in the brains of rats who ate unsupplemented food had decreased. But the animals whose food had been enriched had as many as much younger rats, the journal Neurobiology of Aging reports.

The researchers believe the same could hold true for humans and say that omega 3 could hold promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.



This contains the 25 amino acids which are the building blocks of the body and is found in fish, meat, beans, peas, lentils, eggs, cheese and soya.