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Walnuts May Improve Health

Walnut

Eating a handful of walnuts each day may be particularly good for people at risk of developing diabetes, a U.S. study suggests.
When people in the study added 56 grams of walnuts (2 ounces, or about 14 walnuts) to their daily diet for six months, they had improvements in blood vessel function and reductions in LDL cholesterol.

Walnuts, which are rich in fatty acids and other nutrients like folate and vitamin E, weren't linked to weight gain in the study even though they are a high-calorie food.

"Adding walnuts to your diet will improve your diet quality and health - cardiometabolic health specifically - and you can add walnuts without fear of weight gain because they are very satiating and appear to bump out other calories quite reliably and make room for themselves," said study author Dr. David L. Katz of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut.

The walnuts didn't seem to improve high blood pressure and high blood sugar, Katz and colleagues reported in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.

For the study, the researchers randomly assigned 31 men and 81 women at high risk for diabetes to follow a reduced calorie diet with or without nutrition counseling.

Within these groups, half of the participants were assigned at random to add walnuts to their diet for six months. After a three-month break from the experiment, researchers then switched the groups and assigned walnuts to the participants who were previously asked to abstain from eating them.

Participants ranged in age from 25 to 75. All had multiple risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight, or having high blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol, or having excess fat around the midsection.

After taking into account factors such as age, exercise habits, calorie consumption and fatty acid intake, the study found walnuts were linked to improved diet quality regardless of whether people received nutrition counseling.