Walnuts: A worthy addition to your daily diet?

What can you add to a wide variety of foods, from cereals to salads, that’s crunchy, filling, and flavorful — and good for your heart? The answer is nuts. While all varieties of nuts are chock full of important nutrients, walnuts may be especially good for protecting cardiovascular health, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation that supports earlier research in this realm.

What is the study?

The Walnuts and Healthy Aging study is a randomized controlled trial supported by a grant from the California Walnut Commission that tracked healthy older adults living in two communities. For the study, researchers recruited 708 adults ages 63 to 79 living in Loma Linda, California, or Barcelona, Spain, and split them into two groups. One group added a half-cup of walnuts to their daily diet for two years, while the other group ate no walnuts.

After two years, average levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were modestly lower in the walnut group. Of note: nearly a third of the participants were taking cholesterol-lowering statins, so the average cholesterol levels of both groups were already in a normal range. The researchers speculate that the cholesterol-lowering benefits from walnuts might be more pronounced in people with elevated cholesterol levels. There is no way to know from the current data if this is true.

Effective Writing for Health Care

Formulate arguments, present data and convey successful messages with our year-long hybrid Harvard Medical School certificate program.

“This recent trial confirms what earlier studies have found, namely, that that adding walnuts to your diet appears to improve your cholesterol levels,” says Dr. Deirdre Tobias, an obesity and nutritional epidemiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The new trial also lasted much longer than past walnut studies. However, it’s not clear what foods were being replaced by the walnuts in the participants’ diets, which might affect the magnitude of benefits the researchers saw. For example, replacing unhealthful, ultra-processed snacks with walnuts would presumably have a greater benefit than a lateral move from healthy options to walnuts, Dr. Tobias explains.

Lower levels of harmful blood fats, no additional weight

The researchers also analyzed the concentration and size of the LDL particles. Smaller, more dense LDL particles are more likely to trigger atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty plaque inside arteries that’s the hallmark of most cardiovascular disease that results in heart attacks or strokes.

The walnut eaters had lower levels of these smaller particles. They also had decreased levels of intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL), which are also linked to a rise in cardiovascular-related risks. And even though a half-cup of walnuts contains about 185 calories, the walnut eaters did not pack on any extra pounds.

Earlier research has found that people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to have heart disease, and many studies have focused specifically on walnuts. In 2018, Dr. Tobias and colleagues published a meta-analysis and systematic review of studies that examined how eating walnuts affects a person’s blood lipids and other heart-related risks. The review included 26 controlled trials involving a total of more than 1,000 people. It found that walnut-enriched diets led to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, the most common form of fat in the bloodstream.

What’s special about walnuts?

Although all nuts are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats, walnuts are especially rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is a precursor to the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fatty fish that are known for their heart-protecting powers. Our bodies convert ALA to EPA and DHA, although the efficiency of this varies from person to person.

What’s more, walnuts are usually eaten raw. So they have greater antioxidant abilities than nuts that are usually eaten roasted. (Antioxidants help prevent or reduce the artery-damaging oxidation that contributes to heart disease).

Adding walnuts to your diet

If a half-cup of walnuts a day sounds like a lot, it’s good to know that eating even half that much may still be beneficial. In fact, the FDA allows a qualified health claim on some nuts (including walnuts). Foods made with them are permitted to include the following statement: “Eating a diet that includes one ounce of nuts daily can reduce your risk of heart disease.” An ounce of walnuts is about a handful, or one-quarter cup.You can sprinkle walnuts onto oatmeal or other hot or cold cereals; stir them into pancakes, muffins, or other quick breads; or toss them with vegetables or into salads. If high cholesterol is a health concern for you, there are other foods that may help lower your LDL cholesterol and boost your heart health.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 NIV

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIV

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:24 NIV

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV

Recommended contacts for prayer request and Bible study

www.agapetemplesda.com

www.adventistontario.org

https://www.hopechannel.com/au/learn/courses

breathoflife.tv/

https://3abn.org/all-streams/3abn.html

http://www.nadadventist.org/article/15/contact-us

https://www.adventist.org/en/utility/contact/

It Is Written

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons