Walnuts can protect against heart disease, diabetes

Adults struggling with extra pounds can protect themselves against diabetes and heart disease by eating walnuts, according to a new Yale University study.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the research found that walnuts can help improve endothelial function. Endothelial cells are found in the inner lining of blood vessels, and they help regulate inflammation and blood pressure.

The study

For the study, researchers examined 46 adults between the ages of 30 and 75 who had a body mass index larger than 25 and a waist circumference bigger than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. All of the participants showed risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

The subjects were then assigned either a walnut-enriched diet or a diet without walnuts. Subjects assigned to eat walnuts were told to consume 56 grams of shelled, unroasted walnuts per day.

Results

At the end of the study, none of the participants who ate walnuts gained weight, and these subjects also showed improved endothelial cell function.

"Our theory is that if a highly nutritious, satiating food like walnuts is added to the diet, there are dual benefits: the benefits of that nutrient rich addition and removal of the less nutritious foods," said lead study author Dr. David Katz.

A Harvard study published earlier this year found that women who ate two to three servings of walnuts per week had a 15 to 20 percent decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even if they were overweight.

Source: NY Daily News

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