Going nuts for nuts may be one of the best things you can do for your health, according to several studies. People who eat these anti-aging foods, especially walnuts, three times a week or more enjoy two to three more years of life, according to research published in BMC Medicine. Nutty folks significantly reduced their risk of cancer and heart disease, the two biggest killers we face as we age, as previously noted. Here Marsha McCulloch, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on the many proven health benefits of walnuts:
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 for the past 50 years, scientists and industry experts have gathered annually at the University of California, Davis, for a walnut conference discussing the latest walnut health research.
The most common variety of walnut is the English walnut, which is also the most studied type.
Here are 13 science-based health benefits of walnuts.
Rich in Antioxidants
A preliminary, small study in healthy adults showed that eating a walnut-rich meal prevented oxidative damage of “bad” LDL cholesterol after eating, whereas a refined-fat meal didn’t (3Trusted Source).
Super Plant Source of Omega-3s
Omega-3 fat from plants, including walnuts, is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It’s an essential fat, meaning you have to get it from your diet.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adequate intake of ALA is 1.6 and 1.1. grams per day for men and women respectively. A single serving of walnuts meets that guideline (8Trusted Source).
Observational studies have shown that each gram of ALA you eat per day lowers your risk of dying from heart disease by 10% (9Trusted Source).
May Decrease Inflammation
Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and can be caused by oxidative stress.
The polyphenols in walnuts can help fight this oxidative stress and inflammation. A subgroup of polyphenols called ellagitannins may be especially involved (4Trusted Source).
Beneficial bacteria in your gut convert ellagitannins to compounds called urolithins, which have been found to protect against inflammation (5Trusted Source).
Promotes a Healthy Gut
Studies suggest that if your gut is rich in health-promoting bacteria and other microbes (your gut microbiota), you’re more likely to have a healthy gut and good overall health.
An unhealthy composition of your microbiota can contribute to inflammation and disease in your gut and elsewhere in your body, increasing your risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer (12Trusted Source).
What you eat can significantly influence the makeup of your microbiota. Eating walnuts may be one way to support the health of your microbiota and your gut.
When 194 healthy adults ate 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of walnuts every day for eight weeks, they had an increase in beneficial bacteria, compared to a period of not eating walnuts (13Trusted Source).
This included an increase in bacteria that produce butyrate, a fat that nourishes your gut and promotes gut health (14Trusted Source).
May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers
Test-tube, animal and human observational studies suggest that eating walnuts may reduce your risk of certain cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Urolithins can have anti-inflammatory properties in your gut, which may be one way that eating walnuts helps protect against colorectal cancer. Urolithins’ anti-inflammatory actions could also help protect against other cancers (5Trusted Source).
What’s more, urolithins have hormone-like properties that enable them to block hormone receptors in your body. This may help reduce your risk of hormone-related cancers, specifically breast and prostate cancers (5Trusted Source).
More human studies are needed to confirm the effects of eating walnuts on decreasing the risk of these and other cancers, as well as to clarify all the ways or mechanisms by which they may help.
May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes and Lower Your Risk
Observational studies suggest that one reason walnuts are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes is that they help control weight. Excess weight increases your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes (21Trusted Source).
Yet, eating walnuts may help control blood sugar by mechanisms beyond their influence on weight control.
In a controlled study in 100 people with type 2 diabetes, consuming 1 tablespoon of cold-pressed walnut oil a day for 3 months, while continuing their usual diabetes medication and balanced diet, resulted in an 8% decrease in fasting blood sugar (22Trusted Source).
Additionally, the walnut oil users had about an 8% decrease in hemoglobin A1C (3-month average blood sugar). The control group showed no improvement in A1C or fasting blood sugar. Neither group had a change in their weight.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-walnuts#section4
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