Rich in omega-3s, walnuts are linked to better health and lower risk of heart disease

Rich in omega-3s, walnuts are linked to better health and lower risk of heart disease

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A new study has found that walnuts are linked to healthy eating habits and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Alexandra Bergam / Stocksy
  • New research indicates that people who consume walnuts have healthier eating habits compared to people who do not eat walnuts or consume other types of nuts.
  • The findings suggest that people who eat walnuts in early adulthood may have healthier body compositions and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors as they age.
  • Walnuts contain many nutrients that support healthy living. Unlike other types of nuts, walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic. acid (ALA).

Walnuts are a nutritional powerhouse and an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants.

A recent study published in Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular disease, Comparing nut consumption with no consumption. The researchers analyzed data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development Study in Young Adults (CARDIA), which included 20 years of subjects’ diet history as well as a profile of cardiovascular risk factors at a 30-year follow-up.

The research, which was funded in part by the California Walnut Commission, showed that participants who ate walnuts early in life had a greater chance of adopting healthy eating habits and being more active.

These findings suggest that incorporating walnuts into your diet often can act as a catalyst for developing healthy lifestyle habits. Nut consumption during youth to mid-adulthood is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

researchers Lynn M StephenThe new study demonstrates how eating walnuts can improve body composition and cardiovascular health, said PhD, MPH, RD, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

“The main objective of this study was to determine whether nut consumers compared to non-nut consumers (other consumers of nuts or not consumers of nuts) had a better diet pattern and a better profile of cardiovascular risk factors over 30 years of follow-up,” Stephen said. Healthline.

“We found that nut consumers had better body composition and certain cardiovascular risk factors as they got older.”

According to Stephen, study results show that people who ate walnuts had better eating habits overall.

Stephen said: “Our study showed that over 20 years of follow-up, nut consumers (compared to non-consumers) ate a healthier dietary pattern – including more fruits and vegetables, and lower processed meats, added sugar, and saturated fats.

Several studies have shown that nut consumption may offer health benefits such as:

Unlike other nuts, walnuts are a source of heart health n-3 fatty acidsmore commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids.

“Walnuts are an excellent source of plant-based N-3 fatty acids — more specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — and other antioxidants,” Stephen said. “Other nuts are also nutritious and contain fatty acids and antioxidants, but other types of nuts do not contain ALA, and the plant-based n-3 fatty acids.”

Walnuts are also packed with other nutrients that contribute to health and longevity.

“Plus, walnuts contain plenty of health-promoting nutrients—fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine,” Stephen explained.

In fact, it is possible to get enough ALA in your diet from walnuts alone.

“Walnuts are extremely high in both monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy, as well as the polyunsaturated fats (omega-3s) from ALA — the plant source of ALA,” said Dana Ellis Huns, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior physician. Dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and author of “A recipe for survival. ”

1 ounce of walnuts contains more than 1.5 [times] Suggested Omega-3 Amount of ALA As stated by the Institutes of Medicine (IoM), we can convert some of our ALA into DHA and EPA in our bodies, which is why IoM has a recommended intake level for ALA only. “

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans She suggests that eating nuts, including walnuts, may be part of a healthy diet.

According to Stephen, one serving of walnuts per day (about a handful) has been shown in several intervention studies to provide health benefits.

In the CARDIA observational study, the average serving size consumed was approximately 3/4 ounce of walnuts per day.

You can also increase your omega-3 intake with other nuts and seeds to get the heart-healthy benefits associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids.

“You can replace walnuts with other foods that are high in omega-3s, such as chia seeds, (ground) flaxseeds, or flax oil,” Huns suggested.

If walnuts aren’t for you, other nuts and seeds can still provide plenty of health benefits.

“For those dealing with a nut allergy and looking for alternatives, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor or a registered dietitian and discuss foods that best fit your lifestyle,” Stephen explained.

And if you are unable to eat any nuts, there are plenty of other food sources that contain the same nutrients.

“Foods rich in vegetable n-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, chia seeds, leafy green vegetables, and legumes,” Stephen said.

“Of course, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, and halibut) are excellent sources of marine n-3 fatty acids.”

Mounting evidence shows the positive effects of including walnuts in your diet. Compared to other types of nuts, walnuts are unique in that they are full of plant-based n-3 fatty acids such as ALA.

People who eat walnuts early in life have been shown to have improved eating habits, healthy body composition, and reduced cardiovascular risk factors as they age.

Whatever the case, it’s never too late to start eating walnuts to reap some of the health benefits. All you need is a handful of walnuts daily.

If you’re allergic to nuts, whole foods like leafy greens, chia seeds, and legumes have the same nutrients. However, you may want to speak with your doctor before making changes to your diet, especially if you have a chronic condition.

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