The brain-shape walnut is quite beneficial for human health. Walnuts have been listed as one of the 38 substances that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, which is a pseudomedicine promoted in folk medicine practices for its supposed effect on health. It was developed by Edward Bach, an English homeopath in the 1930s. According to the Cancer Research UK, walnuts without shells contain 4 percent of water; 15 percent of protein; 65 percent of fat; 14 percent of carbohydrates; and 7 percent of dietary fiber.
For many people, choosing a healthy diet is all about sacrifice: foregoing the appetizers; cutting back on carbs or saturated fat; giving up on their favorite desserts. But what if there was something you really liked that turned out to be good for you like chocolate although, in small quantities, chocolate may not be so bad for health.
And, as well all know, many chocolates and energy bars that contain nuts are even more beneficial for our health as they add to nutrition value. Here, we will discuss the nuts with a specific reference to walnuts. Previous studies carried out by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, have found that people with higher nut consumption have improved cardiovascular risk factors and lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. As we can say that several trials have linked nut consumption with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And, nuts are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been found to be heart-friendly as well.
A new study suggests that walnuts may be particularly a good choice for the health and this is not the first time that the researchers have come to this conclusion. Previous analysis carried out by the same researchers (that included 365 study participants in 13 trials) has found that diets enriched with walnuts led to lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol when compared with the other diets. Since then, more studies on walnuts with far more study participants and longer follow-ups have been published.
This latest analysis combined data from 26 previous trials that included more than 1,000 people; comparing between those on a regular diet, and those consuming a walnut-enriched diet.
Walnut-rich diet exhibited the following changes:
#Lower total cholesterol by about 7 mg/dL, representing a 3% greater reduction
#Lower LDL cholesterol by about 5.5 mg/dL, a 4% greater reduction
#Lower triglycerides by about 5.7 mg/dL, a 5.5% greater reduction
#Lower apoprotein B a protein linked to cardiovascular disease by nearly 4 mg/dL
The study says, while these improvements in blood lipids were rather small, larger improvements, such as a 12 mg/dL drop in total cholesterol were noted when the comparison diet was a typical US or western diet i.e., a diet high in red meats, high-fat dairy foods, and artificially sweetened foods. A diet rich in high-fat foods such as nuts always raises the concern about the potential for weight gain, but fortunately, those on the high-walnut diet did not gain weight.
While this new research is intriguing, it also raises questions of whether walnuts are unique in some way. In fact, it may be the types of oils in walnuts that make them special when it comes to cardiovascular health.
Walnuts contain a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthier than saturated fats. In addition, walnuts have alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids, which may have anti-inflammatory effects that keep blood vessels healthy, in addition to having favorable effects on blood lipids.
All nuts are not created equally. Many nuts like almonds and cashews are rich in monounsaturated fats, along with polyunsaturated fats. These are healthier types of fats than saturated and trans fats, but the specific combination of fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in walnuts may be particularly good for cardiovascular health.
In case you’re wondering what else is comprised in the nutritional benefits of walnuts, then you must know that walnuts are a good source of iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, vitamin B (complex) and E, apart from containing Omega-3 fatty acids.
Researchers analyzing past studies on the health benefits of walnuts have given us much reason to make walnuts a regular part of our diets and, perhaps, to choose them over other nuts. Hopefully, this type of research will lead to better food choices and better eating conscience; hence, better health.