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Christmas Apple ;

Six ingredients to make a nutritious Christmas meal

With expertise in nutritional sciences and cardiovascular health, scientists from King's have drawn on their research to identify those Christmas favourites that, when consumed in moderation, can help to lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular risk factors and support growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

We've pulled together the perfect recipe for a hearty and healthy Christmas meal to get you through the holiday season: 

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Looking at almonds, in particular, the team from the Department of Nutritional Sciences found that eating nuts also resulted in a lower and slower release of fat into the bloodstream, which is beneficial for a whole range of health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes. 

"Our research shows how important it is to look past food labels on some foods since what is displayed in terms of fat and calorie content may not accurately reflect what actually happens once consumed," said Dr Sarah Berry 

New research led by Professor Kevin Whelan eating a handful of nuts a day significantly increases the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that promotes gut health. 

Professor Whelan added: "Butyrate act as a fuel source for cells in the colon, they regulate absorption of other nutrients in the gut, and help balance the immune system."

All the more reason to chomp on handfuls of nuts in front of the Christmas tree!

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In a study, researchers gave a dose of resveratrol (a compound produced by the skins of certain fruits such as grapes in self-defence against insects and found in wine) to mice with induced high blood pressure, causing the blood vessels of the mice to relax and blood pressure to drop. 

Study lead, Dr Joseph Burgoyne said: “We’re slowly realising that oxidants aren’t always the villain. Our research shows that a molecule once deemed an antioxidant exerts its beneficial effects through oxidation. We think that many other so-called ‘antioxidants’ might also work in this way."

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Researchers from the Section of Opthalmology found that a higher dietary intake of vitamin C has been found to have a potentially preventative effect on cataract progression. 

Professor Chris Hammond, said: ‘The findings of this study could have a significant impact, particularly for the ageing population globally by suggesting that simple dietary changes such as increased intake of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthier diet could help protect them from cataracts.

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Researchers are recruiting people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to the Iron and Muscle study, who are deficient in iron, but not anaemic or on dialysis, to see if giving them IV iron improves their ability to exercise, their physical ability, how their muscle functions and their quality of life.

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The Diet and Cardiometabolic Health Research Group focus on understanding the physiological processes by which diet influences cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes risk factors. Their research includes polyphenols impact on vascular function and the role of the gut microbiota. 

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Research from the Department of Nutritional Sciences found that daily consumption of cranberries for one month improved cardiovascular function in healthy men. Those consuming cranberries, which are rich in polyphenols, had a significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function. FMD is considered a sensitive biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk and measures how blood vessels widen when blood flow increases.

 Dr Ana Rodriguez-Mateos said: “The increases in polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream and the related improvements in flow-mediated dilation after cranberry consumption emphasise the important role cranberries may play in cardiovascular disease prevention. The fact that these improvements in cardiovascular health were seen with an amount of cranberries that can be reasonably consumed daily makes cranberry an important fruit in the prevention of cardiovascular disease for the general public.”

In this story

Joseph Burgoyne

Joseph Burgoyne

Senior Lecturer

Sarah Berry

Sarah Berry


Chris Hammond

Chris Hammond

Frost professor of Ophthalmology

Ana Rodriguez-Mateos 

Ana Rodriguez-Mateos 

Reader in Nutritional Sciences

Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan

Professor of Dietetics

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