WILL EATING WALNUTS HELP ME LIVE LONGER? VeryWell Health’s recent article entitled, “Study: Walnuts Support Lifelong, Heart-Healthy Eating,” reports that to explore the possible long-term health benefits, researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health looked for connections between nut consumption and CVD risk factors to see if walnuts would come out on top.
The new study was published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease. The researchers examined data from about 3,000 young adults aged 18 to 30 enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
The researchers took the participants’ self-reported diet histories three times throughout the study: at the start (baseline), year seven, and year 20. Each individual’s physical and clinical measurements were taken at multiple exams for 30 years. Their diet histories helped researchers put them into categories based on their nut consumption:
The average intake of walnuts during the study was about three-fourths of an ounce a day, and the intake of other nuts among the walnut consumers and the other nut consumers was about one and ½ ounces a day. The researchers then looked at the participants’ heart disease risk factors. This included their dietary intake, smoking status, body composition, blood pressure, plasma lipids (e.g., triglycerides), fasting blood glucose and insulin concentrations.
The results demonstrated the potential positive effects of eating nuts (including walnuts) when young. After following up with participants after 30 years, the researchers noted the following:
Lyn Steffen, PhD, MPH, RD, an author of the study and a Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, told VeryWell that the study is one of the longest to suggest that regularly eating walnuts is linked to better health later in life.
“[The findings] reinforce that walnuts might be an easy and accessible food choice to improve a variety of heart disease risk factors when eaten in young to middle adulthood,” Steffen said.
The study also supports the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend incorporating nuts into your diet.
“A daily one-ounce serving—or roughly a handful—of walnuts provides a wide range of beneficial nutrients,” Steffen said. “Walnuts are the only nut that provides an excellent omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) source.”
Walnuts are also a source of key nutrients that support our heart and overall health, including fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, folate and thiamin.
WILL EATING WALNUTS HELP ME LIVE LONGER?
Reference: VeryWell Health (Sep. 30, 2022) “Study: Walnuts Support Lifelong, Heart-Healthy Eating”
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