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Walnut consumption improves health and reduces heart disease risk

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People who eat walnuts tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and a healthier diet, according to new research. Westend61 / Getty Images
  • Nuts, including walnuts, are generally considered part of a healthy diet due to their high levels of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
  • Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that walnut eaters have a better heart disease risk profile than those who don’t eat walnuts.
  • The research team also reported that those who ate walnuts ate healthier overall, gained less weight and enjoyed more physical activity than those who did not eat walnuts.

nuts are generally balanced diet This is due to its high levels of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

A new study from the University of Minnesota spotlights one nut in particular: walnuts.

Findings suggest that those who incorporate this particular nut into their diet enjoy certain health benefits, including: weight gain, higheradietand better heart disease risk profile.

This study was funded in part by the California Walnut Commission and was recently published in the journal. nutrition, metabolism, cardiovascular disease.

Walnuts are commonly considered nuts, but technically they are the seeds of the fruit.

Walnut trees grow drupes, also called drupes. When the fruit is ripe, it forms a hard outer shell containing walnuts, which are edible seeds.

A daily serving of walnuts is equivalent to 1 ounce, 1/4 cup, or half of 12-14 walnuts, with the following nutritional breakdown:

  • 190 calories
  • 18 g fat (includes 13 g polyunsaturated fat)
  • 4 grams of carbs
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of dietary fiber
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • Contains no sodium or cholesterol

Walnuts are some of the healthiest nuts you can eat, according to Lauren Pellehak-Sepe, a clinical nutritionist at the Kelman Wellness Center in New York, NY.

“They are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and some essential minerals,” she explained. medical news today“Given their beneficial nutritional profile, walnuts are an important part of a healthy diet as they offer many important health benefits.”

According to Sepe, walnuts offer more health benefits than other nuts. That’s because walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids, also known as n-3 fatty acids, of any nut.

“Omega-3 fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory properties. triglyceride level and reduce plaque formationThis is one of the mechanisms by which it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. ”

– Lauren Pelehach Sepe, Clinical Dietitian

Sepe also cited a 2019 study showing that walnuts help provide cardiovascular benefits due to their cardiovascular impact. intestinal flora.

“A healthy gut microbiome is associated with lower levels of inflammation, which not only reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also Lipid reduce the risk of metabolic diseaseand many other health benefits,” she added.

In the current study, senior author Lyn Steffen, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said the primary objective was to help walnut consumers have better dietary patterns and better minds. A profile of more than 30 years of follow-up compared with people who did not eat walnuts.

For this observational study, Dr. Steffen and her team studied a group of over 5,000 white and black men and women aged 18 to 30 years in a We used findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development (CARDIA) study. Old and still in progress.

The research team looked at data from 3,023 CARDIA participants, including 352 walnut eaters, 2,494 other nut eaters, and 177 no nut eaters.

After examining physical and clinical measures 30 years later, researchers found that walnut eaters had a better heart disease risk profile.

The researchers also determined that people who consumed walnuts ate healthier overall, gained less weight, and tested at lower weights. fasting blood sugar self-reported concentration, and more physical activity.

Dr. Steffen said walnuts are a good source of plant-based n-3 fatty acids, so the findings aren’t surprising. α-linolenic acid (ALA) and other antioxidants.

“Other nuts are also nutritious and contain fatty acids and antioxidants, but other types of nuts do not contain ALA, a plant-based n-3 fatty acid. MNT.

“I have been reading about the health benefits of walnuts for years and wanted to see if walnut consumption was beneficially associated with cardiovascular disease. [cardiovascular disease] Health profile of the CARDIA population. ”

“I wrote another paper On walnut consumption in relation to cardiac phenotypes – this is systolic function and diastolic function – using data from the CARDIA study. Cardiac function parameters in adults were within normal limits, but those who consumed walnuts had better values. ”

– Lyn Steffen, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study

Sepe says there is no exact answer to determining how many walnuts a person should eat per day to reap the health benefits outlined in the study.

Still, she suggested that an ounce a day (about 7 walnuts or half of 14 walnuts) can provide benefits.

“You can easily add them to your daily diet, or you can have larger amounts several times a week,” she explained. Incorporate other nutritious foods into your daily diet for maximum benefit.”

As for the next steps in this research, Sepe said he would like to see more studies looking at all the mechanisms by which walnuts provide health benefits: their effects on the gut.

“This could lead to a better understanding that walnuts not only reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but may reduce other health conditions as well,” she added. rice field.

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