Low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol, may be decreased because of a diet high in walnuts, which may also enhance overall heart health. Consuming walnuts may also have a few additional health advantages. Although walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, several other nuts primarily contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) (PUFAs). The plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is also present in substantial proportions in them.
Additionally, walnuts are a good source of folate and vitamin E. The likelihood of central nervous system problems in unborn children is lowered by folate. The protein that carries oxygen in the blood, hemoglobin, is formed with the aid of vitamin E. But walnuts also have a lot of calories, so consuming too many can make you gain weight.
In this article, we examine some of the scientific evidence in favor of including walnuts in the diet, particularly for those looking to lower their cholesterol.
Walnut: Dietary profile
1 ounce, or 7 walnuts, constitutes one serving of walnuts. One serving of walnuts contains:
- 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat
- fat saturated in 1.7 grams
- protein in 4.3 grams
- carbs in 3.9
- fiber, 1.9 grams.
- 0.7 grams of sugar
A lot of nourishment is packed into that little serving size. The vitamins and minerals you will find in an ounce of walnuts are as follows:
- Up to 3% of the daily calcium recommendation
- 10% of the daily recommended iron
- 5% of your daily potassium intake or more
- up to 14% of the magnesium, you need each day
- 7% of your recommended daily intake of folate
Cholesterol, heart health, and walnuts:
Both walnuts and walnut oil may be advantageous for lowering cholesterol and maintaining heart health, among other things. One in three Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC (Centers for Disease Control) (Centers for Disease Control)), have excessive blood cholesterol levels overall. Heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses are made more by high cholesterol levels, especially high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. At the Experimental Biology 2016 conference in San Diego, California, in 2016, researchers highlighted that daily consumption of walnuts may lower cholesterol levels without increasing body weight.
The Walnuts and Healthy Aging (WAHA) study included 514 older persons, with an average age of 69 years, whose data were examined. A handful of walnuts, or 15% of their daily caloric intake, was added to the diets of about half the participants. The other half continued eating their regular daily fare sans almonds. The researchers discovered that after a year, people on the walnut diet had lower LDL cholesterol levels than people who continued eating their regular diet.
Regarding changes in body weight and levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, there were no discernible differences between the groups. Following more research, the WAHA experts came to the following conclusion in 2018: Walnuts can be included in the daily diet of healthy elderly without concern for harmful effects on body weight or body composition.
Improved lipid profiles:
The cardiovascular advantages of walnuts are still being supported by research, according to scientists. In 2018, an analysis of 26 research combining information from more than 1,000 individuals found that persons who consumed a diet high in walnuts had lower levels of cholesterol overall
Science has connected apoprotein B, a protein, and LDL cholesterol triglycerides, a form of blood fat, to cardiovascular disease. Researchers did not discover that eating walnuts increased body weight in this investigation.
They hypothesized that walnuts’ high concentration of plant sterols may be a factor in the improved levels of the chemicals. These naturally occurring substances may aid in preventing the body’s absorption of cholesterol. Additionally, walnuts contain polyphenols and tocopherol, which may promote the body’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes. To prove this, more research is required. Incorporating walnuts into the diet “enhanced blood lipid profile without adversely influencing body weight or blood pressure,” the researchers wrote in their report.
Walnuts and cholesterol:
Walnuts include a tonne of healthy fats, vitamin E, and folate. Despite having a lot of calories, they do not seem to cause weight gain. Researchers at Yale University’s Prevention Research Center wanted to know if those who are at risk for diabetes may lower their cholesterol and blood sugar levels by regularly eating walnuts.
70 percent of the 112 participants, aged 25 to 75, who were divided into two groups were women. Two ounces of walnuts were provided to each participant in both groups each day. They were instructed to eat anything else they desired but to keep a log of their meals. To make up for the calories the walnuts added, one group was also instructed to consume 366 fewer calories from other foods. Both groups consumed walnuts for six months before returning to their regular diets for another six months.
Every three months, everyone went to clinical centers to get their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels examined as well as to be weighed and measured. During those visits, the researchers used the Healthy Eating Index 2010 to assess the quality of their diets.
When participants consumed walnuts daily, the researchers discovered that their levels of LDL (bad) and total cholesterol decreased. Furthermore, regardless of whether they cut other calories, their weight stayed constant. Additionally, when they consumed walnuts, their diets were better. Walnuts did not change blood pressure or blood sugar levels, though.
The report was released online by BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care on November 23, 2015. A nutritious and guilt-free snack is nuts. A handful of walnuts every day is worth a go if you are trying to lower your cholesterol.
Risks of walnuts:
Walnuts are a meal that is excellent in nutrients, but they are also high in calories and can cause weight gain if consumed in excess. As a result, walnut consumption must be moderate and consistent with a healthy lifestyle. A person who is allergic to nuts may also experience a severe or even fatal allergic reaction after eating walnuts. Walnuts and other nuts should not be consumed by anyone with a nut allergy.
See your doctor for more information on allergens and how to distinguish between an allergy and intolerance if you have a doubt.
Walnuts as a part of your diet:
Walnuts make a great snack on their own and can make a crunchy topping for ice cream, yogurt, salad, stir-fries, and vegetable meals. Choose unsalted walnuts and go for raw or dry-roasted varieties rather than those that have been cooked in oil for the most heart health advantages.
It is crucial to preserve walnuts properly. Since they contain a lot of oil, prolonged exposure to heated temperatures might cause the oil to go rancid. The walnut tastes bitter as a result. They should be kept in an airtight container in a cold, dry area (either with or without their shells). They can be frozen for up to a year or kept in the refrigerator for up to three months. Because walnuts can absorb smells, it is better to keep them away from foods with strong aromas. You should discard your walnuts if they are rubbery or shriveled since that indicates that they have gone bad.
They can be used:
- To add taste, texture, and nutritional value to a salad, add walnuts.
- A delightful and nutritious food to include in your diet is walnuts.
- Here are some suggestions about how to use walnuts:
- Consume them on their own as a snack.
- Serve them with low-fat cheese, dates, or other dry fruit.
- Add them to muesli.
- To give a salad more crunch, bake walnut toast and add them.
- For a nutty flavor, drizzle a little walnut oil over cooked vegetables or add it to salads. However, boiling the oil could give it an unpleasant flavor, therefore it is preferable to add it after cooking.
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