One study found that adding half a cup of walnuts to your daily diet can lower cholesterol levels by about 8.5% and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Researchers at the hospital Clinic de Barcelona recruited 628 adults and included half of them in a diet that included daily nut consumption.
Two years later, the team found that people who ate walnuts had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
High levels of low-density lipoprotein, sometimes called “bad cholesterol,” are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Study participants who ate walnuts daily observed a decrease in the total number of “bad cholesterol” particles in their blood, and in particular, the number of small “bad cholesterol” particles.
According to the American Heart Association, walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy fats found in oily fish.
Emilio Rose, a paper writer and nutritionist at the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona in Spain, says: “Previous studies have shown that nuts in general and walnuts in particular are associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke.
This is one reason for lowering LDL levels, and now we have another reason: it improves the quality of LDL particles.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particles come in different sizes. Research shows that small, dense particles of this cholesterol are often associated with atherosclerosis, plaques, or fatty deposits in the arteries.
A recent study aims to obtain a complete picture of all lipoproteins beyond LDL cholesterol levels and the effect of eating walnuts daily on the ability to increase the risk of heart disease.
Dr. Rose and colleagues analyzed data from 628 healthy adults aged 63 to 79 who lived in Loma Linda, Barcelona, Spain or California.
Participants were divided into two groups, where the first group added half a cup of nuts to their daily diet, while the others did not eat any nuts.
After two years, the team tested the cholesterol levels of each participant, as well as analyzed their concentrations and levels of lipoproteins, looking for characteristics associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
The researchers found that participants in the nut-eating group ended up with lower LDL cholesterol at the end of the study period, averaging 4.3 mg / dL.
Meanwhile, total cholesterol was reduced by an average of 8.5 mg / dL.
The researchers found that nut consumption was associated with a 4.3% reduction in the total number of LDL cholesterol particles and a 6.1% reduction in small LDL cholesterol particles associated with lower risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, the team found that medium-density lipoprotein was also reduced in the walnut group.
The researchers noted that LDL cholesterol changes in the walnut group differ by gender for reasons not yet clear.
The average decrease was 7.9% in males and 2.6% in females.
“Although this did not indicate a dramatic reduction in LDL cholesterol, all of our participants at the beginning of the study were healthy and without major infectious diseases,” Dr. Rose said.
However, as expected in the elderly population, approximately 50% of participants recovered from hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.
Thanks to 32% statin therapy, the average cholesterol level was normal for everyone in the study.
For people with high cholesterol, lowering LDL cholesterol following a diet rich in walnuts can be overwhelming.
“Eating a few walnuts daily is an easy way to improve heart health,” the researchers continued.
The full results of the study were published in the journal Circular.
Source: Daily Mail
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