Walnuts: A worthy addition to your daily diet?

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What can you add to cereals to salads that's crunchy, filling, flavorful, and good for your heart? Crazy answer. All nuts are full of important nutrients, but walnuts may be especially good for cardiovascular health, according to a study in the journal Circulation.

What is the study?

Walnuts and Healthy Aging is a randomised controlled trial funded by the California Walnut Commission. It tracked healthy older adults in two communities. 708 adults ages 63 to 79 in Loma Linda, California, or Barcelona, Spain, were recruited for the study.

What is the study?

One group ate a quarter- to half-cup of walnuts daily for two years, while the other group did not.

What is the study?

LDL cholesterol was lower in the walnut group after two years. Almost a third of the participants took cholesterol-lowering statins, so both groups' average cholesterol levels were normal.

What is the study?

 The researchers believe that people with high cholesterol may benefit more from walnuts. Data don't show if this is true.

These smaller particles were lower in walnut eaters. They also had low levels of IDL, which raises cardiovascular risks. Even though a quarter-cup of chopped walnuts has 190 calories (a half-cup has 380), walnut eaters did not gain weight.

These smaller particles were lower in walnut eaters. They also had low levels of IDL, which raises cardiovascular risks. Even though a quarter-cup of chopped walnuts has 190 calories (a half-cup has 380), walnut eaters did not gain weight.

All nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats, but walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It's a precursor to the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fatty fish. Our bodies convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but the rate varies.

What’s special about walnuts?

Raw walnuts are often eaten. So they're more antioxidant than roasted nuts. (Antioxidants reduce artery-damaging oxidation that contributes to heart disease.)

What’s special about walnuts?

FDA allows qualified health claims on some nuts (including walnuts). They can be used in foods with the following statement: One ounce of nuts daily can reduce heart disease risk. One ounce of walnuts is one-quarter cup.

Adding walnuts to your diet

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