A long term study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, determined that people who consumed Walnuts more than three times a week are more likely to have a longer span and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The nutritional study conducted in Spain examined the effect of a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin oil or nuts on over 7000 people compared to a control group.
People who ate nuts tended to have a lower BMI and smaller waist. They were also less likely to smoke and were more physically active than those who rarely or never ate nuts. Nut eating was associated with a better diet in general as these people ate more vegetables, fruit and fish.
There were fewer incidents of type 2 diabetes or people taking medicine for hypertension in the group of people who ate the most nuts. Overall, nut eaters had a 39% lower mortality risk and walnut eaters 45% lower — meaning that they were less likely to die than the non-nut eaters, especially relevant as the age group of the study group ranged between 55-94.
People eating more than 3 servings (1 serving — 28 g) a week of nuts reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 55% and cancer by 40%. A similar effect was demonstrated for walnuts.
Prof Jordi Salas-Salvadó, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili who led this study explained, “Quite how nuts are able prevent premature mortality is not entirely clear, nor why walnut should be better for you than other nuts. Walnuts have particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals, especially in their ‘skin’ both of which, along with fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect.”
1.Marta Guasch-Ferré, Mònica Bulló, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Emilio Ros, Dolores Corella, Ramon Estruch, Montserrat Fitó, Fernando Arós, Julia Wärnberg, Miquel Fiol, José Lapetra, Ernest Vinyoles, Rosa Lamuela-Raventós, Lluís Serra-Majem, Xavier Pintó, Valentina Ruiz-Gutierrez, Josep Basora and Jordi Salas-Salvado. Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 164 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-164