Walnuts May Boost Heart, Gut Health

We’re all for dietary changes that can help us. The Neuliven Health team likes trying new things, and we’re happy to make diet swaps for our health. But, it’s even better when we find out that a food we already know and like is better for us than we realized. New research has shown the excellent properties of walnuts. The find is going to get them into our diet routine more than they already were!

Researchers have shown that eating walnuts every day is linked to higher amounts of healthy gut bacteria. The bacteria is also linked to lower the risk of heart disease. It was a randomized, controlled study. People who ate walnuts daily saw increases in the bacteria. There were 42 participants, all of whom were overweight. They ate a standard diet for two weeks. Then, once group at whole walnuts, one substituted oleic acid for the fats in walnuts and one had alpha-linolenic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They were all receiving the same amount of fat, just from different sources. Everything else about their diets was the same across the groups.

Older research had already shown that enjoying walnuts every day lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have also shown that eating nuts over the course or a week could reduce the risk of obesity as they aid the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and hunger.

This research saw that the higher the amount of bacteria, the better the blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers are planning more research on the topic. “The study gives us clues that nuts may change gut health,” said Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State, “and now we’re interested in expanding that and looking into how it may affect blood sugar levels.”

The study shows that it isn’t merely the type of fat that has an impact but other qualities of the walnut. “Foods like whole walnuts provide a diverse array of substrates — like fatty acids, fiber and bioactive compounds — for our gut microbiomes to feed on,” said Prof. Regina Lamendella or Juniata College.

This makes us love walnuts even more than before! Remember, when enjoying nuts, that they are high in calories. A serving is smaller than you think. The people in the study were eating around three ounces a day. Moreover, coatings — like “honey roasted” — can add a lot of calories and sugar. We like lightly salted dry-roasted nuts.

When you pick out nuts, take a look at the nutritional values. And, don’t merely add nuts in on top of your diet, always make sure you’re incorporating them into your diet in a healthy way.
January 20, 2020

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