To Your Health
February, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 02)
The Power of Walnuts
By Editorial Staff
Walnuts aren't just any other healthy snack; they're particularly beneficial when it comes to gastrointestinal and heart health, suggests research. That makes walnuts a health promoter extraordinaire! Here's why, according to recent research published in the Journal of Nutrition
, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Nutrition.
The study randomly assigned adults with cardiovascular risk factors (elevated body-mass index, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol) to one of three groups for comparison: a diet containing whole walnuts, which are naturally high in α-linolenic acid, ALA); a fatty-acid-matched diet without walnuts; or a diet that replaced ALA with oleic acid without walnuts. (The latter two diets essentially substituted the ALA in walnuts with vegetable oils.)
Before the trial began and after dietary intervention (each participant consumed all three diets for six weeks apiece, with breaks in between), researchers assessed gut microbiota and other variables to determine which diet had best influenced healthy gut bacteria and CVD risk factors. The winner: the walnut diet.
Specifically, eating walnuts appeared to increase several species of gut bacteria ("healthy" or "good" bacteria), which correlated with improvements in blood pressure, total cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol. Just as significantly, there was no correlation between gut bacteria and CVD risk factors based on pursuing the other two diets.
Whether you're trying to avoid heart disease or improve your already-at-risk heart health, walnuts sound like a winner to us! Talk to your doctor for more information.