To say that walnuts are a nutritious food is a bit of an understatement.
Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals — and that’s just the beginning of how they may support your health.
In fact, there’s so much interest in this one nut that scientists and industry experts have gathered annually for the past 50 years at the University of California, Davis, for a walnut conference to discuss the latest walnut health research.
A new study looks at health benefits of walnuts
A new study suggests that walnuts may be a particularly good choice. And this isn’t the first time researchers have come to this conclusion. A previous analysis by the same researchers (including 365 study participants in 13 trials) found that diets enriched with walnuts led to lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when compared with other diets. Since then, more studies with far more study participants and longer follow-up have been published.
This latest analysis combined data from 26 previous trials that included more than 1,000 people; compared with those on a regular diet, those consuming a walnut-enriched diet had:
- 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
While these improvements in blood lipids were rather small, larger improvements (for example, a 12 mg/dL drop in total cholesterol) were noted when the comparison diet was a typical US or western diet (that is, 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.