Eating about ½ cup of walnuts every day for two years modestly lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol,” and reduced the number of total LDL particles and small LDL particles in healthy, older adults, according to new research published today in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.
Healthy older adults who ate a handful of walnuts (about ½ cup) a day for two years modestly lowered their level of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol levels. Consuming walnuts daily also reduced the number of LDL particles, a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.
Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.
A review and analysis published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that eating walnuts could improve blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) without causing weight gain or increasing blood pressure.
I grew up in a family of ‘snackers.’ As a result I suffered from weight problems much of my life. Exercise is important, but you can dig your own grave with your knife and fork. You need to pay attention to the quality of your calories as well as the quantity.
Herewith a rundown on noshing on nuts for healthy and nutritious snacks in reasonable quantities.
Nuts often take a bad rap for their calories. I love snacking on them and relying on them as an alternate source of protein to red meat. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do work on limiting the amount of red meat I consume in any month.
Herewith an infographic to help you in your healthy snacking.
Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. So, it is always useful to learn more about how various inputs like food and exercise impact the brain. Here is some fresh info on walnuts from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Double-blind test bolsters observational data that walnuts promote feelings of fullness.
Results provide a quantitative measure for testing other compounds’ ability to control appetite, including potential medications for the treatment of obesity.
Fascinating how walnuts also suggest the shape of the brain.
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have demonstrated that consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, reveal for the first time the neurocognitive impact these nuts have on the brain.Continue reading →
College can be a stressful time for young adults as they figure out how to manage intense daily routines that include work, study and play. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep is a familiar mantra to alleviate this stress, but now with the results of his latest study, University of New Mexico (UNM) Nutrition Professor Peter Pribis is able to tell college students that walnuts could be a key to a happier state-of-mind.
In this first intervention study in humans, Pribis measured the effect of walnut consumption on mood.
“In the past, studies on walnuts have shown beneficial effects on many health outcomes like heart disease, diabetes and obesity,” said Pribis. “Our study was different because we focused on cognition, and in this controlled randomized trial (CRT) we measured mood outcomes in males and females.” Continue reading →
Here is a breakfast you can put together in a snap that will hold you through the morning hours with solid nutrients and totals below 500 calories from Mr. Lazy Cook. That leaves you a full 1500 calories to supply your next two meals with, not counting any subtractions for exercise.
Here is the utterly simple and fast breakfast – Avocado Walnut Toast.
Avocado spread over toast ready for the next step
One slice whole grain bread
One medium avocado (5 ounces)
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
One tablespoon hemp seeds.
Toast the bread and spread the avocado across the slice. Add the chopped walnuts and sprinkle with the hemp seeds. Voila, Avocado Walnut Toast!
The nutritional breakdown is:
Fat 34.5 grams
Saturated fat 4.6
Carbs 81 grams
Fiber 17 grams
Protein 12 grams
I am very impressed with the nutritional value of this simple dish. That 17 grams of fiber is nearly half what you need to get all day. It gives you a running start on good digestion. Most folks have a hard time getting their full requirement of fiber every day.
The protein, at 12 grams, amounts to about a quarter of what you need in a day. Avocados provide all essential amino acids necessary to form complete protein. Not many breakfasts furnish that much protein.
Protein also helps to keep your blood sugar up and protects you from the hungry feeling around mid-morning.
Regarding the nearly 35 grams of fat. “Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocados boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs, according to NaturalNews.
As the heat of summer approaches it is nice to have some simple go-to meals that satisfy our nutritional needs that at the same time taste great. I consider my Avocado Walnut Summer Salad to be just such a thing.
I lived in London some years ago on a one-year assignment with Reuters. I stumbled across the basis of this salad there. Several restaurants that I frequented served a salad consisting of a half avocado, pitted, and filled with salad dressing. That’s it. It tasted delicious and I ordered it often.
A good friend of mine has since added the excellent element of an ounce of chopped walnuts to the mix. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of walnuts in the previous post.
To make this salad, remove the pit of a ripe avocado, clean out the meat, slice up and place in a salad bowl, drop in an ounce of chopped walnuts and cover with salad dressing. Voila! Instant delicious summer salad.
The walnuts contribute:
Fat 18.5 grams
Saturated fat 1.7 g
Sodium 1 mg
Fiber 1.9 grams
Protein 4.3 grams
The avocado yields: Calories 161 Fat 15 grams Saturated fat 2.1 g No Cholesterol Sodium 7 mg Fiber 7 grams Protein 2 grams
I consider this to be a really good high energy salad with all that fat. Remember, fat, per se, is not bad, but there are bad fats. The fats in walnuts and avocados are not bad fats. There is also nearly nine grams of fiber in this which comes to about a quarter of a day’s needs. Many people have a hard time consuming the 40 grams of fiber necessary each day for good health. If this has piqued your appetite for more info on good fats, check out Why should I try coconut oil? It might open your mind as well as your arteries.
I didn’t include the salad dressing because that will vary with the person making the salad. I use two tablespoons of the light stuff that comes to around 20 calories per tablespoon.
“Nuts to you!” Takes on all new meaning with the latest info from The Telegraph in London. The Telegraph is reporting, “Eating walnuts just two or three times a week can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by a almost a quarter, according to new research.
“A study of nearly 140,000 women in the US shows regular helpings of a small portion of nuts can have a powerful protective effect against a disease that is threatening to become a global epidemic.
“Women who consumed a 28 gramme (one ounce) packet of walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop type two diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them.
“The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are not the first to highlight the anti-diabetic effects of walnuts, with earlier research showing similar benefits.
“However, this is thought to be one of the largest studies to find regularly snacking on them can help prevent the condition. Continue reading →