Two News Bulletins Support a Daily Habit of Walnuts
Will a handful of walnuts each day keep the doctor away? According to a new study it just might. The new study found that adding about 2 ounces of walnuts daily to a balanced diet improved blood vessel function and helped to reduce the bad cholesterol, LDL, in subjects who were at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Since blood vessel dysfunction and a higher LDL are associated with obesity, aging, and also risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, any dietary habit that is “ a do rather than a don’t” would resonate with people. In this case, a handful or two of walnuts daily would likely be a lifestyle recommendation that people would actually enjoy.
The nut habit did not appear to improve high blood pressure or high blood sugar, two other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Still, the study author, Dr. David Katz of the Yale University Prevention and Research Center in Derby, Connecticut, highlighted that a walnut habit is satiating and, based on this study, will help to modify cardio-metabolic health in a positive way. Too often we tell patients “what not to do.” This is a case where individuals can be encouraged to include a healthy, tasty and satisfying snack in their daily diet.
More research is needed to confirm these results, especially since the participants in the study were assessed on self-reported data. It is important to note that nutritional counseling did not appear to impact results, meaning even those participants who did not get counseling still showed the improved dietary and health benefits.
Previous studies have confirmed that walnuts and tree nuts are healthy sources of plant-based protein and fat.
The study was also not designed to show whether having walnuts daily could prevent diabetes specifically. Still the results clarify the benefits of making select food choices in order to achieve health benefits. The California WalnutCommission funded this study and has compensated Dr. Katz for speaking engagements.
Another new study published in the Journal of Nutrition finds that a one ounce serving of walnuts may actually have 146 calories and not 185 calories, as previously posted in the USDA Nutrient Database. That translates to 21% fewer calories per one ounce portion. In the past, the Atwater System was used to estimate most calorie counts for foods.This is a new calculation using a different calorie assessment model. Since a two ounce portion of nuts was used in the previously mentioned study, that two ounce portion would translate to about 390 calories of walnuts daily.
For now, consider adding walnuts to your daily diet, by measuring a portion of about 14 walnuts. Enjoy them alone or add the nuts to salads, yogurt, and high protein cereal. Crush the nuts to create a healthy coating for fish. Add the walnuts to a healthy muffin recipe or make homemade trail mix with walnuts, seeds, high fiber cereal and dried fruit.
Enjoy these walnut recipes as well.