Walnut is your heart’s best friend. Don’t believe us? Read this now!

Updated on: 17 January 2020, 17:19 pm IST

Move over almonds, pistachios and pecans! Walnuts are here to win the race. These bite-sized nibbles are replete with health benefits.

IANS
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foods to stay fit
Nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Walnuts are not just tasty but also filled with the goodness of a number of nutrients. The rich nutritional profile of walnuts contributes in maintaining a sound and healthy body. You can munch on walnuts as a mid-noon snack or even add them to your brekkie bowls. 

Walnuts aid the growth of good bacteria, which is beneficial for your gut health. These good bacteria further promote heart health. This has been verified by the researchers in a recent study, which was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Kristina Petersen from Penn State University in the US says, “Substantial evidence shows that small improvements in diet greatly benefit health. Eating two to three ounces of walnuts a day as part of a healthy diet could be a good way to improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Also, read: Hungry kya? This low-calorie oats-and-nuts bar is the perfect evening snack

For the study, the researchers engaged 42 overweight or obese participants between 30 to 65 years of age. They were placed on an average American diet for two weeks. Eventually they were randomly allotted one of the three less-saturated fat diets used in the study.

walnuts
Eat granola bars loaded with walnuts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The first diet included whole walnuts. The second diet included the same amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) without walnuts. And the third diet was partially substituted with oleic acid for the same amount of ALA found in walnuts without any walnuts. 

In all of the above diets, saturated oils were replaced by walnuts or vegetable oils. The participants followed the diet for six weeks with a break between diet periods.

The fecal samples were collected 72 hours each before the participants finished their American diet and the six-week diet period. 

After the study concluded, Petersen added, “The walnut diet enriched a number of gut bacteria that have been associated with health benefits in the past. One of those is Roseburia, which has been associated with the protection of the gut lining. We also saw enrichment in Eubacteria eligens and Butyricicoccus”

The researchers also came up with a significant connection between the changes in gut bacteria also known as the gut microbiome, and the risk factors for heart diseases. 

The Eubacterium eligens was seen to be inversely associated with changes in several different measures of blood pressure, which further suggested that eligens was linked with the reductions in those risk factors related to heart problems.

That’s not all folks! Walnuts also have other benefits to offer:

1. Walnuts help boost immunity
They help keep your immune system healthy because of their high antioxidant content. Adding a few walnuts to your everyday diet can prevent the onset of various diseases.

Also, read: Trust these 5 desi superfoods to boost your immunity this winter

2. Can tame the risk of certain cancers
A study, published in The American Association For Cancer Research, in 2009 found that having walnuts every day can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

3. Your bones get stronger
They contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a compound that is majorly associated with maintaining healthy and strong bones.

4. Boon during your pregnancy
These nuts contain vitamin B-complex, which is necessary for the mother and the fetus. So, if you’re expecting, do make walnuts a part of your daily diet.

5. Promotes brain health
The omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts help maintain the smooth working of the nervous system and further boost memory power.

So, do you now see these nuts as your friend in need?

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