Eating a diet that is rich in walnuts may help protect against negative outcomes linked with Helicobacter pylori infection, a widespread bacterial infection that affects more than half of the world’s population, according to a study conducted in mice suggests.
What is H. pylori infection?
H. pylori infection is a major cause of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine as well as stomach cancer and peptic ulcer disease. It was noted by the researchers from the CHA Cancer Prevention Research Center in South Korea that the prevalence of H. pylori is most common in developing countries. They said it is generally related to socioeconomic status and hygienic conditions and is thought to be spread through person-to-person contact or even through food and water.
What does the research say?
According to the research, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, extracts from whole walnuts may help create protective proteins and anti-inflammatory actions in the gut that may safeguard against H. pylori infection and resulting cancer in mice.
Treatments available but growing concerns over resistance to antibiotics
According to the researchers, while treatments are currently available, there are concerns about the bacteria’s growing resistance to antibiotics.
Due to increasing challenges associated with antibiotic resistance, researchers have been investigating dietary and other non-bacterial approaches to improve impact from H. pylori infection. The researchers said this is not the first time walnuts have been linked to a lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer development in mice.
Previously, a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that walnuts in the diet may suppress colon tumour development by modifying gut bacteria.
Another study in the journal Nutrients found that walnuts in the diet may also suppress the progression of colorectal cancer by suppressing angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels which facilitates the growth of cancer cells.
The researchers noted that animal studies are valuable for providing background information and can be used as a basis for future research in humans.
Based on the existing body of evidence, dietary approaches to reduce symptoms of H. pylori infection, like inflammation, seem worthwhile to pursue in a well-designed clinical trial to confirm the findings, they added.