(Natural News) Walnuts are touted as a superfood among health experts. They are prized, especially among vegetarians, for being rich in protein and fiber. Previous research has shown that walnuts can improve cognitive function, slow down the progression of disease, decrease the risk for diabetes and improve male fertility.
Cracking the nut
The WAHA study was conducted by researchers from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Loma Linda University. They gathered critical information about each participant over the course of two years. The intent of the study was to examine the impact that walnuts had on age-related health issues. None of the participants had a history of uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, walnut allergies or obesity.
The analysis consisted of 707 older adults who either consumed a daily dose of walnuts that contributed to less than 15 percent of their daily calorie intake or refrained from consuming walnuts completely. No guidance was given to participants about how many calories they should consume a day, what sort of macronutrients they should ingest or what type of food to substitute walnuts with.
After one year, the researchers found that their were no significant body weight, triglyceride or HDL “good” cholesterol differences between participants who consumed walnuts daily verses those who didn’t consume walnuts at all. However, the researchers did find that those who consumed walnuts daily had a significant reduction in their LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in comparison to those who refrained from eating walnuts.
“Given walnuts are a high-energy food, a prevailing concern has been that their long term consumption might be associated with weight gain,” said Dr. Emilio Ros, director of the Lipid Clinic, Endocrinology & Nutrition Service at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.
“The preliminary results of the WAHA study demonstrate that daily consumption of walnuts for one year by a sizable cohort of aging free-living persons has no adverse effects on body weight. They also show that the well-known cholesterol-lowering effect of walnut diets works equally well in the elderly and is maintained in the long term. Acquiring the good fats and other nutrients from walnuts while keeping adiposity at bay and reducing blood cholesterol levels are important to overall nutritional well-being of aging adults. It’s encouraging to see that eating walnuts may benefit this particular population.”
Commenting on the potential health benefits attached to walnuts, Dr. Ros added, “As we continue the WAHA study, we will assess how walnut consumption may affect, among other outcomes, cognitive decline and age-related macular degeneration, conditions that were major public health concerns.”
On the synergistic effects of walnuts
Thousands of the world’s top research scientists and health experts flock to the EB meeting each year. New abstracts presented at the EB indicate that walnuts can have a broad impact on health. Some of the health benefits attached to walnuts include:
Gut health: Food choices and gut microbiome play a pivotal role in human health. A recent study conducted by researchers from the Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered that consuming 1.5 ounces of walnuts a day alters gut bacteria in a way that reduces inflammation and bad cholesterol, which are markers of heart health.
Hunger and satiety: In an unprecedented study, researchers from the University of Georgia demonstrated that consuming certain types of fat can change long-term appetite responses, including hunger and satiety. In particular, the team found that eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fat after meals high in saturated fat altered hunger and satiety markers. At 13 grams per ounce, walnuts are an excellent source of polyunsaturated fat.
Metabolic health: A recent animal study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University found that a diet consisting of walnuts supplemented with polyphenol-rich foods, including raspberries, cherries and green tea may reduce inflammation. Since the study was conducted on mice, these results cannot be extrapolated to people.
All the studies were supported in part by the California Walnut Commission (CWC). Abstracts are available in The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.
Scientific consensus has yet to be drawn from the abstracts presented at the EB 2016; however, they offer insight into the stupendous synergistic effects walnuts have to offer. To learn more about how you can better your health through healthy eating habits, be sure to attend this year’s Food Revolution Summit. You can reserve your spot for this FREE online event by clicking here.