According to researchers in Germany, walnuts are great for the heart (and tasty, too). In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Metabolism, the scientific team gave study participants, who were reasonably healthy men and women, 1.5 ounces of walnuts to eat daily for eight weeks. The team checked the participants’ levels of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B — both predictors of cardiovascular disease risk when in elevated numbers. By the study’s end, the team noticed a 6% decrease in cholesterol and 5% reduction in ApoB levels.
What this means is that, in the big picture, adding walnuts as a snack, or chopped up as part of a veggie dish or salad, can provide nourishment to your cardiovascular system. When you view your foods as “heart helpers” or “brain helpers,” etc. on a total daily consumption basis, you are compounding the ability to achieve much healthier blood lipid profiles.
Walnuts are comprised predominately of polyunsaturated fat and are one of the few foods that offer an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid – 2.5 grams/ounce.
Previous international research suggests that eating walnuts daily (or at least regularly) can help improve heart health markers, such as decreasing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (so make sure they’re unsalted). In addition, walnuts have been shown to decrease oxidative stress and markers of inflammation.
Cardiologist Dr. James Beckerman of the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute in Portland, OR, commented, “Walnuts are a unique nutrient-dense package offering abundant heart health benefits that I urge my patients to consume to help improve their blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood lipid levels.”