Walnuts help stave-off diabetes and heart disease in at-risk individuals – Study

Munching on walnuts may cut the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseasein obese and overweight adults, researchers have found.

According to the findings of a new study, people who are at high risk of developing diabetes and heart disease can stave-off the risk by eating a few walnuts each day.

The study, conducted by the researcher at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, found that a daily intake of 56gms of walnuts enhances the endothelial function in overweight and obese adults with visceral adiposity (abdominal obesity).

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers roped in 46 adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 25 and waist circumference more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

While all were non-smokers, their abdominal obesity made them perfect candidates for diabetes and heart disease.

Participants were randomly divided into two groups – walnut eaters and non-walnut eaters. For eight weeks, walnut eaters were required to eat 56gms of shelled, unroasted walnuts in their daily diet, while non-walnut eaters abstained from walnuts.

At the end of eight weeks, researchers evaluated the participants’ health indicators for diabetes and heart disease including flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the arteries, serum lipid profile, sugar levels, blood pressure readings, and anthropometric measures.

The findings were compared to the measurements collected before initiating the walnut diet.
Researchers found a significant improvement in the flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Other measures including serum lipid profile, fasting glucose and insulin levels, Homeostasis Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance scores, blood pressure readings, and anthropometric measures, too posted a remarkable improvement over baseline numbers.

“We know that improving diets tends to be hard, but adding a single food is easy,” study’s lead author, Dr David Katz, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, noted.

“Our theory is that if a highly nutritious, satiating food like walnuts is added to the diet, there are dual benefits: the benefits of that nutrient rich addition and removal of the less nutritious foods,” Katz said.

The findings of the study are reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

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