Friday, December 4, 2015

Heart Healthy Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the most talked about nuts in the health community, especially when it comes to heart health.  Some earlier studies have suggested that the walnut has the ability to slow prostate cancer, reduce cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, oxidative stress and even inflammatory markers.  That’s one powerful nut!

Dr. David Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center began a study in which he further explored a few of these claims.  His study involved individuals with a relatively high risk of developing diabetes.  The participants were split into two groups, one received nutrition counseling to implement a lower calorie diet while the other group received no nutrition counseling.  Each group was further split into two subgroups, one consuming 56g of walnuts per day, and one completely abstaining from consuming walnuts altogether.

The results?  The group consuming walnuts showed an improvement in epithelial functioning as well as a reduction in LDL cholesterol.  Interestingly enough, these benefits were achieved in both groups, those with a controlled amount of calories as well as the group who implemented no caloric restriction.  However, this study was funded by the California Walnut Commission, so to avoid bias, further studies should be conducted.

The takeaway?  Walnuts are an excellent addition to any diet.  They are packed with more, and according to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania’s researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, better-quality antioxidants than many other popular nuts.  Walnuts are also filled with healthy fats that keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.  Most importantly, they taste delicious!

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