Promising results from a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition provide convincing evidence that walnuts can help protect against heart disease. Researchers at Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, CT studied the effects of consuming two ounces of walnuts per day over eight weeks and found a significant improvement in blood vessel function (endothelial function) among adults who were overweight and at risk for developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Please note, due to the homogeneity of the participants, the findings cannot be generalized to the general consumer, and due to the length of the study it is unknown whether the findings would be similar in longer trials.
The findings are particularly important considering heart disease is a leading cause of death globally , while type 2 diabetes affects 347 million people worldwide. In the United States, 26.5 million people have heart disease and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about half of Americans (49%) have at least one of the three key risk factors. Diet and lifestyle modifications are key components of prevention and recent research has been looking at how the type of fat influences the development of type 2 diabetes. Walnuts are unique among nuts because they are the only nut with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) the plant based form of omega-3 fatty acids with 2.5 grams of ALA per 1ounce/28 gram serving.
"Our work to date has shown clear benefits of adding walnuts to the diet for people with, and at risk for, diabetes," said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and principal investigator of the study.
Free living study participants added the walnuts to their diet and did not gain weight. Katz states, "This may be due to the fact that eating more walnuts, which tend to help us feel and stay full, means eating less of other, less nutritious foods – so there are benefits both from what is added to the diet, and what is bumped out." These study findings provide evidence that walnuts can play a role in protecting against heart disease and type 2 diabetes in at-risk individuals. Our Mediterranean recipe collection is a great way to help your clients enjoy heart healthy cuisine.
 World Health Organization