Half a cup of walnuts a day, keeps the doctor away? It certainly seems so! Based on a new study in medicine and nutrition, all you need to make significant steps towards protecting yourself from heart disease and lowering your cholesterol levels are some walnuts as part of your daily diet!
This was the conclusion after researchers from the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona ran an experiment meant to prove the positive effects of walnut consumption.
What the study consisted of was simple – a number of 628 people of adult age were split into two different groups, one of them being the control group, while the others were put on a diet that included half a cup of walnuts every single day for two years.
At the end of the experiment, the experts realized that those who consumed walnuts registered a slight reduction in their bad cholesterol levels.
As you might know, high levels of bad cholesterol, also known as LDL, are linked to a high risk of stroke and other heart diseases.
The American Heart Association explains that walnuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids, the fat that is actually good for your heart and which is also commonly found in oily fish.
Emilio Ros, the study’s author and a nutrition expert at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Spain, says that “Prior studies have shown that nuts in general, walnuts in particular, are associated with lower rates of heart diseases and stroke. One of the reasons is they lower the LDL-cholesterol levels, and we have another reason now: they improve the quality of LDL particles.”
“LDL particles come in different sizes. Research shows that small, dense LDL particles are often associated with atherosclerosis, the plaque or fatty deposits that builds up in the arteries. The study goes beyond LDL cholesterol levels to then get a complete picture of all the lipoproteins and the impact of consuming walnuts daily on their potential to decrease cardiovascular risk.”
The adults that participated in the study were aged 63 to 79 and after two years, Dr. Ros and his team tested each of their cholesterol levels as well as analyzed the concentrations and the sizes of their lipoproteins, which are associated with a high cardiovascular disease risk.
More precisely, what the researchers found was that the walnut-eating group had lower bad cholesterol levels with an average of 4.3 mg/dL.
Furthermore, their total cholesterol was lowered as well, by an average of 8.5 mg/dL.
However, the researchers were also left with a few new questions, one of the most important being – why did the benefits of consuming walnuts differ based on sex?
While unclear why at this point, what they realized was that on average, the cholesterol levels dropped by 7.9% in men but only by 2.6% in women.
This discrepancy, mentions the study’s author, calls for further research in the future.
Either way, Dr. Ros still stressed that just by eating a handful of walnuts every single day, you could greatly decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides, they’re delicious!