Walnuts are a traditional component of the Mediterranean diet and a key ingredient in the landmark PREDIMED study.
A Mediterranean diet is based on foods that are commonly eaten in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Italy, Greece, Spain and Turkey. Fortunately, you can enjoy the benefits of this way of eating no matter where you live. Plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts (like walnuts), whole grains, beans and extra virgin olive oil are the focus of this eating pattern, along with moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs, dairy and wine. Walnuts have a rich past dating back thousands of years and have historically been a key part of the Mediterranean diet. Today, U.S. walnuts are primarily grown in California for the climate is similar to that of Mediterranean countries.
Walnuts were a key component in the landmark PREDIMED study (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea, or Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) study. This research showed that a Mediterranean diet which includes nuts (primarily walnuts) or extra virgin olive oil, may reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, compared to a low-fat diet.1 Study participants were older adults who lived in Spain and were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. More research is needed to understand the health benefits in other populations.
See below for the latest walnut health research as well as Mediterranean diet recipes and tips.
1Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(14):1279-90.
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