Walnuts Are Tops For Your Diet

So you never met a nut you didn’t like. You love your cashews and pistachios, your Brazilians and pecans. Did you know, however, that walnuts are the best source of antioxidants and bad chemical element defenders made by nature on the planet?

“Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts. A handful of walnuts contain almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don’t eat a lot of them. A study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet.”

Nuts, in general, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meats for example. They contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals, dietary fibers and are dairy and gluten free. Regular consumption of small amounts (a few nuts a day) of walnuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.

“There’s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants. The heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants. People usually eat walnuts raw or unroasted, and get the full effectiveness of those antioxidants.”

Are walnuts roasting on an open fire next holiday season?

Despite all the previous research, scientists until now had not compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts. That knowledge gap was analyzed for antioxidants in nine different types of nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans. Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants.

In 2003, the FDA recognized the benefits of nuts and their role in heart disease prevention by approving a health claim for 7 kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts). These seven nuts were approved as they are the only kinds that contain less than 4 grams of saturated fats per 50 grams.

Nuts, in general, are high in calories, so moderation is the key. The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating walnuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. Therefore, instead of just adding walnuts to your current diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats (such as cheese and meat) and limit your intake of these tasty treats to the recommended 1.5 oz per day. That is about 20 walnut halves.

Nuts account for barely 8% of the daily antioxidants in the average person’s diet. The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual and particularly beneficial. Instead of having most of its vitamin E present in the alpha-tocopherol form, walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Particularly in studies on the cardiovascular health of men, this gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems.

Sources: The American Chemical Society and Nutrition Data

Walnuts May Help Reduce Risks Of Breast Cancer.

A scientist may have just discovered an effective means to protect women from developing breast cancer and it is consuming walnuts daily. During a lab test, scientists at the Virginia-based Marshall University have found that animals that consumed a reasonable amount of walnuts every day faced considerably fewer risks of developing breast cancer.

Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., evaluated the health of mice that were fed a common diet and a diet containing substantial amounts of walnut throughout their lives in the laboratory. During the course of their study, the scientists fed the mice 2 oz of walnut daily.

It was found that mice whose diet included walnut faced lesser risks of breast cancer compared to those that were given a standard diet. Even if mice taking a diet containing walnut develop breast cancer, the size as well as a number of tumours was lesser than those experienced by the mice taking normal diets.

According to Hardman, the reductions in the occurrence of breast cancer, as well as their size and number, are particularly significant when one takes into account the fact that the mice used in the laboratory experiments were genetically programmed in a way that they chances of developing breast cancer were high. She said that they were successful in lessening the chances of developing breast cancer despite the presence of a genetic mutation that existed from before.

Using Food As A Remedy

Walnuts contain elevated levels of nutrients that combat diseases and, hence, supply our body with healthy amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers attributed the unique benefits of regular consumption of walnuts in preventing and combating breast cancer to the blend of vitamin E and healthy fats.

A press communique issued by the university said that the Marshall study employed the genetic analysis method to find that a diet containing walnut altered the action of multiple genes that are associated with breast cancer in mice as well as humans. Other experiments demonstrated that augmentation in supplies of omega-3 fatty acids did not have absolute anti-cancer results. The growth of tumours decreased when supplies of vitamin E were increased through regular diets.

Hardman was of the view that their findings established the important role of diet in health as well as preventing various diseases. She said that food is a vital medicine, as what we consume not only determines the manner in which our body will function, but also the body’s response to good health and illness. She believes that doing simple things is effective for our health and advises us to eat the right things, move around a little and not to sit on the couch and watch television for prolonged periods of time.

The study undertaken by researchers at the Marshall University in Virginia was jointly financed by the American Institute for Cancer Research as well as the California Walnut Commission.