Walnuts are good for the gut and the heart

January 22, 2020 in Gastrointestinal Health, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Walnuts are good for the gut and the heart

If you’re looking for a snack that does double duty – one that promotes gut health and heart health – consider adding walnuts to your snack list. That’s according to new findings from Penn State University researchers.

The study was a randomized, controlled trial involving 42 participants, aged 30 to 65, who were overweight or obese. Participants were assigned to one of three diets, one that incorporated whole walnuts, one that included the same amount of healthy fats found in walnuts but without walnuts, and one that substituted some of walnuts’ healthy fats with oleic acid (another fatty acid), without any walnuts.

Researchers found that eating whole walnuts every day as part of a healthy diet was associated with increases in certain gut bacteria that can help promote health. What’s more, the changes in gut bacteria were associated with improvements in risk factors for heart disease and may help explain the cardiovascular benefits of walnuts.

Walnuts contain fibre, antioxidants, heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid, or ALA for short. Previous research has shown that walnuts, when combined with a diet low in saturated fat, can help lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure.

How many walnuts?

In this study, participants ate 2 to 3 ounces of walnuts each day which is equivalent to one-half to three-quarters of a cup of walnuts, or 370 to 555 calories worth. 

If you’re going toad  2 to 3 ounces of walnuts to your daily diet, you need to make adjustments to your diet to prevent gaining weight over time. To start with, cut back on refined starchy foods and sweets.

Source: Journal of Nutrition, January 7, 2020.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.