Walnuts & Your Heart. A Strange Benefit That Starts Elsewhere:
When people talk about Nutrition, a lot of times it just seems to deal with the basics.
But here at HT, we are all about trying to go for the extra few percent that might make a big difference over time.
And along with the researchers who study it, that means hunting for small benefits in overlooked places.
This is nowhere better-exemplified than the search for SuperFoods.
And though similar evidence has come before, a PSU team discovered even stranger proof that adding nuts to your diet might just be a small miracle…
The SuperFood Search. Tough, But Worthwhile:
So for anyone who pays attention to this type of thing,
But was a little skeptical of the atom-bomb-metabolism claims of the mysterious Acaí,
They will know that nuts are not only on the list of healthier foods on respected plans like The Mediterranean Diet,
But also have been on the list of SuperFoods forever.
And though a fraction of their powers seem explicit, we’re finding out the others are much more subtle and elusive to pin down.
But The Short Answer for the current study is that people who regularly ate not just any nuts, but Walnuts on a regular-basis, showed reduced risk-factors for all kinds of heart-health problems.
Read on to find out the details…
Let’s Revisit The SuperFood Properties Of Nuts:
So previously, we’ve discussed a few SuperFoods, and also the benefits of nuts in-general.
Some of the uncommonly-elevated components they have that might benefit someone’s health are as-follows:
1) Almonds: Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin E, Flavonoids in Skins
2) Brazils: Selenium
3) Cashews: Magnesium, Iron, Zinc
4) Chestnuts: Starch, B Vitamins, Low in Fat & Carbs
5) Hazelnuts: Folate
6) Macadamias: Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium
7) Peanuts: Folate
8) Pecans: Sterols, Antioxidants, Oleic Acid, B3
9) Pine Nuts: B1, B3, E, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin K1, Omega 6
10) Pistachios: B6, Lutein, Potassium
11) Walnuts: Antioxidants, Omega3 Oils
The Stealth Benefit That Farmer’s Market Produce Has Been Hiding:
Now here’s the fascinating thing about all these interestingly-high levels of vitamins & minerals.
We know from listening to Dr. Joel Fuhrman that natural foods are full of tons of micronutrients,
Which is one of the reasons why produce from the farmer’s market is healthier,
(and also part of the origin for the dreaded-term “Farm To Table” ::shivers::)
But it’s not The Only reason produce right off the farm is better.
No, we’re not talking about European-inspired seasonal-eating, either.
Your Gut-Feeling About SuperFoods Was Probably Right:
The researchers at PS found something that everyone who hunts SuperFoods and reads HT intuitively-knows but never stated outright.
It’s the strange array of millions of reactions every single extra substance in that food creates at every stage of its presence in your body.
Including but not limited to your digestion or shuttling-around fats, carbs & proteins.
Pre-Biotics Are Just As Important As Pro-Biotics:
Because everyone whose moved-past just yogurt and kombucha has found the same thing.
The special fiber from PRE-biotics might be just as important as Pro-Biotics.
And that’s the point the current work highlights.
Kristina Petersen’s study shows that it’s not just the Antioxidants, Minerals and Omega 3s in Walnuts.
It’s also the exact foods that walnuts give very specific types of microbes all throughout your gut.
So it’s not like a Statin. It’s like feeding the stuff inside you that makes all kinds of helpful biochemicals.
Walnuts’ Impact On Heart-Health Via Your Gut, The Study Specifics:
So in the small study of just over 40 people, aged between 30-65,
Each was started-out on a basic American diet for 2 weeks.
Then they were randomly-assigned to 3 different diets for 6 weeks apiece, and 2-week breaks in-between.
One had 2-3oz. of walnuts, and 2 others with different oils in place of them to make up the same amount of fat-calories.
The subjects on the walnut diet had elevated levels of at-least 4 different microbes associated with positive health-outcomes.
One specific one has been correlated with improved heart & cardiovascular health in several studies in the past.
Specifically, they were:
1) Roseburia – Protects gut lining, helps reduce endotoxin escaping GI-tract.
2) Eubacteria Eligens – Lowers Blood-Pressure
3) Butyricicoccus – Protects gut lining, Crowds out bad microbes, Produces Anti-Inflammatories
4) Lachnospiraceae – Reduction of Blood-Pressure, Cholesterol, LDL
It’s Still Early-Days For The Magical-Mystery Of The Human-Microbiome:
And that’s just early-days.
Who knows how many health-improving microbes are in your gut that live off of the food we used to think was healthy just on it’s own.
So then perhaps it’s not really just the calories that food gives your body’s digestion and metabolism,
In many cases, maybe healthy food is the stuff that feeds the immense biochemical-factory in your gut,
And creates one of the best, you-enhancing pharmacies a person could ever imagine?
This really seems to be the case, the more researchers chase down specifics of the nearly-infinite human microbiome.
Nuts Have An Even Longer List Of Health-Benefits:
So maybe that 2,000 year-old saying about, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, wasn’t so bad after-all.
And just as a refresher, here are a few of the benefits dietary-nut intake of 1-1.5oz/day has been correlated with in previous work.
These were reductions in rates of:
1) Heart Attack
2) All other types of Cardiovascular Disease like Atherosclerosis
5) Respiratory Diseases
7) Infectious Diseases
8) Increase In Intelligence Of Children Whose Mothers Ate Nuts
So there is something seriously-good going on.
Although Mixed-Nuts were viewed as the best,
Any Type Of Nuts Is A Good Start, But Some Are Even Better:
And Peanut-Butter was never considered because of its tendency to go rancid and the unhealthy-additives that frequently come with it,
Even a handful of Peanuts just by themselves is enough to get most of the benefits.
But to make that clearer for this context, even in the other studies, Walnuts still did take the top-spot as being the healthiest,
Even healthier than Almonds.
In previous work, not only did eating nuts reduce Heart-Attack and All Cardiovascular-Disease by 14% and 19% respectively,
Mixed Is Good, But Walnuts Are Still The King:
Walnuts were the only variety to show a specific reduction in Stroke, by 17%!
So as long as you can rememeber to informally calorie-count and just take the extra 140 out of your daily-allowance.
A handful of mixed-nuts, or especially Walnuts,
Can make you healthier in multiple-ways not easy to imagine,
Given all the positive parts of that chain they affect.
And strangely-enough, increased amounts of Omega 3 in your diet might be the least-positive impact SuperFoods like Walnuts might have; because Nutrition might be Queen and Microbes could very-well be King!
References & Links:
• Source: PSU
• Source Study:
1) JN – Walnuts and Vegetable Oils Containing Oleic Acid Differentially Affect the Gut Microbiota and Associations with Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Follow-up of a Randomized, Controlled, Feeding Trial in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease