WALNUTS PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Handful each day slashes cholesterol
A HANDFUL of walnuts a day could help us live longer by staving off heart disease, research claims.
The nuts reduce levels of bad cholesterol in
the elderly, protecting them against deadly cardiovascular conditions, scientists have discovered.
Just one- and- a- half ounces of walnuts, which are high in polyunsaturated fats, were found to boost friendly bacteria in the gut.
That reduces inflammation and cholesterol, both of which contribute to heart disease.
During the ground- breaking study, experts also discovered that walnuts may help prevent weight gain by reducing hunger.
Initial findings from the Walnuts and Healthy Ageing study revealed that daily consumption reduced blood cholesterol levels without adverse effects on body weight among older adults. A group of 707 healthy older adults was studied. Some added walnuts to their daily diet, while others did not.
After a year, both diets had minimal effect on body weight. But the walnut- diet resulted in significant cholesterol reductions compared to the nut- free diet. Scientists found one ounce of walnuts contains half an ounce of polyunsaturated fat.
They are the only nut with high levels of plant- based omega- 3 fatty acid. The two- year clinical trial was conducted at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and Loma Linda University. Results were presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 conference in San Diego, California.
Dr Emilio Ros, in charge of the study, said: “Walnuts are a highenergy food but daily consumption has no adverse effect on weight. The cholesterol- lowering effect is maintained in the long term.”
Experts at the British Heart Foundation said last night that keeping bad cholesterol levels down is vital to health. Senior cardiac nurse Christopher Allen explained: “Raised cholesterol can increase your risk of coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.”
Studies in the US have also suggested that walnuts have health benefits.
All the studies reported in San Diego were supported in part by the California Walnut Commission.
Walnuts are known to be packed with antioxidants, as well as fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
The Romans believed they enhanced sexual desire and fertility.