Eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, particularly found in walnuts, fish, soybean and sunflower oils, can significantly reduce a person's risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, suggests a recent study.
These findings shed a new light on the potential health benefits of omega-6, which is found in bean and seed oils such as soybean and sunflower oils and in nuts, and support clinical recommendations to increase dietary intake of omega-6 rich foods.
The results indicate that the individuals, who had the highest blood level of linoleic acid, the major omega-6 fat, were 35 per cent less likely to develop Type-2 diabetes in the future than those who had the least amount.
Lead author Dr. Jason Wu from The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney said that a simple change in diet might protect people from developing Type-2 diabetes, which has reached alarming levels around the world.
Senior study author Dariush Mozaffarian from the Tufts University in Massachusetts stated that the people involved in the study were generally healthy and were not given specific guidance on what to eat. Yet those who had the highest levels of blood omega-6 markers had a much lower chance of developing Type-2 diabetes.
The team analysed data from 20 studies involving 39,740 adults from 10 countries, in whom 4,347 new cases of diabetes occurred over time.
They tested the participants for two key omega-6 markers - linoleic acid and arachidonic acid.
Linoleic acid was associated with lower risk, while levels of arachidonic acid were not significantly associated with either higher or lower risk of diabetes.
Dr. Wu noted that they the major omega-6 fat is linked to lower risk of Type-2 diabetes.
Linoleic acid is not formed in the body and can only be obtained from the diet.
The results suggest that eating foods rich in linoleic acid may lower risk of Type-2 diabetes.
The research appeared in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.