Regularly eating nuts and seeds reduces the risk by 46 per cent, say researchers from the University of East Finland.
Their findings are controversial because the omega-6s have been linked to several chronic diseases and suspected of causing low-grade inflammation. However, these findings have been seen only in animal tests, and have never been replicated in human trials.
The researchers measured the serum fatty acid levels in 2,189 men aged between 40 and 60, who were free of diabetes at the beginning of the study. During the 19 years
of the study, 419 men developed diabetes, but none of those with the highest levels of omega-6 fatty acids in their blood had the disease, or were showing any signs of developing it.
The researchers aren’t sure why omega-6 has such a protective effect, but think it’s something to do with its two major components: linoleic and arachidonic acids. Linoleic acid can be found only in the foods we eat—and primarily nuts and seeds—whereas the body can make arachidonic acid from linoleic acid. Arachidonic acid is also found in meats and eggs.