Super Nut? Studies Show – Walnuts Great for Diabetics and Rank Above Many Other Healthy Nuts : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Wednesday May 30 | BY |
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A new study shows that walnuts help improve blood vessel function in diabetics, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.

If you’ve adopted a high raw, healthy diet, likely you already enjoy walnuts on a regular basis. Here’s more good news for you: Among all its other health benefits, according to a recent study, walnuts improve blood-vessel health and function in patients with type-2 diabetes. This is important, as diabetics are at a higher risk for heart disease, and the improvement seen in this study suggests that walnuts could help reduce overall cardiac risk.

What Happened in the Study
Yale researchers recruited 24 diabetic patients with an average age of 58. One group was fed a standard diet, and the other a diet with 56 grams or about two ounces of walnuts a day for eight weeks. The researchers measured blood vessel function at the beginning and end of the study, and also drew blood to measure blood sugar levels and insulin.

Results showed that endothelial function improved significantly on the walnut diet. In other words, those on the walnut diet had a 45 percent greater increase in blood vessel relaxation compared to the placebo group. “A walnut-enriched diet improves [blood vessel health] in type 2 diabetic individuals, suggesting a potential reduction in overall cardiac risk.”

The findings were in line with a previous study that showed walnuts were associated with reduced cholesterol levels. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition (2004) showed that walnuts had a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels and C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammation marker strongly associated with atherosclerosis and artery disease.

But walnuts have shown to have even more health benefits.

Boosting Brain Power
Researchers at Andrews University divided 64 students into two groups. One munched on banana bread made with walnuts every day for 2 months. The second ate banana bread without walnuts. At the end of the 8 weeks, researchers gave the students a variety of cognitive tests. Results showed that students who had eaten walnuts daily for performed better on tests that measured inferential reasoning—the ability to judge the accuracy of statements made when reading an article, paper, or other source.

Protecting Bone Health
Studies have also found that walnuts may help decrease the breakdown of bone. One published in the Nutrition Journal Penn State found that higher consumption of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—such as that which is plentiful in walnuts—leads to a reduction in bone turnover, and a shift in the balance of bone degradation/formation toward formation. Walnuts are considered one of the most nutrient-dense whole food sources of ALA.

King of the Nuts
Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania said in a statement that walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts, as they contain almost twice as many antioxidants. Of course, all nuts contain high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, but the antioxidants in walnuts were 2–15 times as potent as vitamin E, according to findings presented at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

And if you’re worried about calories—Vinson said it takes only about 7 walnuts a day to enjoy the health benefits.

Do you incorporate walnuts into your daily diet? Please share your experience.

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Photo courtesy Hellebardius via Flickr.com.

Sources
Greg Arnold, “Walnuts Improve Blood Vessel Health in Diabetics,” Now University, February 26, 2010, http://www.now-university.com/Library/DiseaseResistance/DiabetesGlucoseInsulin/078589.htm.

“Walnuts are Heart Smart,” WebMD Health News, November 22, 2004, http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20041110/walnuts-are-heart-smart.

Kristie Leong, M.D., “Will Eating Walnuts Give You More Brain Power?” Yahoo News, September 28, 2011, http://voices.yahoo.com/will-eating-walnuts-give-more-brain-9157073.html?cat=5.

“7 Walnuts a Day Deliver Health Benefits,” Health News, March 28, 2011, http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/03/28/7-walnuts-a-day-deliver-health-benefits/UPI-93441301365744/.

“New Study Shows Walnuts Improve Bone Health,” RedOrbit, January 17, 2007.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

24 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. IH says:

    Thanks Kevin for the great information you always provide! FYI, I always bookmark those type of articles.

  2. Julia says:

    Yeah, walnuts are great.

    That’s funny, I attended Andrews University for 1 semester. 🙂 Didn’t like it.

  3. Kathleen says:

    My family is from Scranton, I used to live just north of there in New Milford, PA. What about the acidity of walnuts? I guess 7 would not produce as much acidity for the day.

  4. Mae says:

    I had to smile at Julia’s post. I graduated from Andrews University and I loved it there. Just too much snow:)

  5. SarahB says:

    Walnuts and blueberries are some real superstars in the food world! (And they don’t have to be brought in from exotic places). Isn’t it intersting that walnuts are considered to be a great food for the brain and they look like little brains. (The “Doctrine of Signatures” at work). 🙂

  6. Goodie says:

    My favorite nuts are walnuts and almonds. I add walnuts to my cereal every day whether it is cold or hot. I like peanuts but they upset my stomach.

  7. susan says:

    I can see by the responses that the passive walnut seems to be more politically correct than bans on foods, ha ha.
    I have ground walnuts with yogurt, cinnamon, grated apple and a little molasses for breakfast, or just snack on a handful.
    My grandfather loved his ground fine walnuts mixed into cut up left over noodles with cinnamon and sugar. There could be a healthier version of this these days. it’s really delicious!
    to Goodie- peanuts are not a nut they are a legume and i’ve cut way down on my peanut consumption…kevin what about peanuts anyway?

  8. Bryan says:

    Great Susan….now you opened up the door on the whole peanut controversy! LOL Move away from the peanuts is all I can say. Maybe Kevin can do an article on them. Now that the Walnut has been outed, lets see how long it takes before the raw version is banned. 🙁 I grew up in Northern California and enjoyed fresh walnuts very much. I find them very filling.

  9. zyxomma says:

    I had the same reaction as Brian. When I read the email, I thought, “Don’t say walnut, don’t say walnut!” because I knew what was coming. Raw, organic almonds are SO expensive and SO worth it. At present, raw, organic walnuts are accessible. Let’s hope and pray that Diamond doesn’t manage to contaminate walnuts with salmonella, as they did almonds, convincing our *#&#!!*%$$$ legislators that the “need” pasteurization. Gabriel Cousens, btw, ranked walnuts #2 (after almonds) in helping diabetics.

  10. Denise B says:

    I wish I could eat them. I have a reaction every time I eat them. And I love them!

  11. zyxomma says:

    I’m surprised that Kevin made no mention of soaking, rinsing, and draining walnuts before consuming them (if you want them crispy, dehydrate at low temps after soaking). Walnuts don’t look like brains for nothing 🙂

    I love nuts, and regularly consume almonds, walnuts, pistachios, castanhos do Para (Brazil nuts), hazelnuts (filberts), pine nuts, macadamias, and pili nuts. Love them all, buy them organic, and soak before consumption (although experts say there’s no need to soak macadamias and pine nuts). Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) are often a safe choice for people with nut allergies.

    Of course, nuts are meant to be consumed in small portions; they’re very potent. Be reasonable when adding them to a food regimen; if you’re using them as a main dish (e.g. a pate), use your food processor or Vitamix to blend soaked nuts with ripe peppers or a juicy vegetable. For a double whammy against diabetes, make your nut dish with Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), the best natural source of inulin, along with herbs (and onion or garlic) for a health boost.

    By the way, peanuts are legumes, not nuts. Health and peace.

  12. Charles Seiter says:

    Same as Denise – I appear to have developed a food allergy with raw nuts (walnuts in particular), though I used to love them as a kid.

    Kevin/All – Do we still obtain many of the benefits if we were to roast/toast the walnuts? I’ve found that while I can no longer eat many raw nuts, however roasted I am able to tolerate somewhat better.

    Thanks,

    — Charles

  13. Maurice Horn says:

    Walnuts are dirty. Wash them thoroughly with lots of good quality
    water using a strainer or colander. Soak them with a little food grade
    hydrogen peroxide for several hours or overnight. Wash them
    again thoroughly then spread them out on a clean window screen
    to dry for a few days. You will be amazed at how succulent they
    are.

  14. Tina says:

    Thanks for the great article Kevin. I use walnuts every day in my morning shake. I read somewhere that all nuts should be soaked overnight so that nutrients can more easily be absoved by the body. I’ve been doing this, and I must say they taste better if that’s possible. After soaking overnight, I spread them on a cookie sheet and in the oven at the lowest temperature to dry them then store in the fridge.

  15. Sandra Swift Murray says:

    Hi all appreciate all your comments and special thanks to Kevin and Marie for all the good you are putting out there! Just an idea for those suffering with a food allergy. I had a number of food allergies and so concentrated on promoting my bowel health through probiotics, eating fermented food everyday(homemade kefir, suaerkraut, yogurt and kombucha tea)and this seems to have resolved the food allergy problems. The intestine is the seat of immunity so if it is not what it should be in terms of ratio of ‘good’ bacteria to ‘bad’ bacteria food allergies and other immune system problems will occur. Number one is no sugar as this really screws up the flora! anyway that has been my experience. Hope it helps someone out there!

  16. Chark says:

    Soaking and dehydrating indeed, if you read WAPrice. Is the purpose of this process to dislodge the enzyme inhibitors which are present in raw nuts? Perhaps this is why some develop problems with nuts after a time. Would like to read more discussion on this process…thanks in advance!

  17. LuAnn says:

    @ #11 Charles – I had the opposite problem with walnuts. I used to have an anaphylactic reaction (shortness of breath, throat tightening) after eating walnuts, until I started eating RAW foods. Now I can eat them with no problem.
    By soaking your brown skinned nuts, it seems to remove the enzyme inhibitors that gives many people digestive problems. I believe toasting nuts kills the enzymes.

    An easy recipe found online:

    RAW BROWNIES

    2 c walnuts (raw)
    2 c pitted medjool dates
    1/2 c either carob or cacao powder or mixture of both

    Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until it balls up in processor bowl. Spread out into 8×8 square pan and freeze, (it will seem too oily but that’s normal). You can score after about 1/2 hour.
    Cut into 1 inch squares and enjoy.

    LuAnn

  18. Lori says:

    I eat a lot of nuts thru the day, my fav being walnuts. However, I make sure I have a couple Brazils per day for the high amounts of selenium, good for lowering your risks for certain types of cancers.

    Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, pecans, almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts. In that order do I love nuts.

  19. Denise Davies says:

    I eat nuts regularly. I think the optimum way is to de-shell where possible as this elliminates the “going rancid” and is the only way to consume nuts if you have a Candida problem.

  20. I like walnuts but they don’t like me. I have a reaction to them. If I eat too many my tounge swells up a bit. I eat them very infrequently. Other nuts do not cause a reaction. Have a friend who is very allergic to them, if she eats one it’s the paramedics and the ER.

  21. LynnCS says:

    Sandra #15. No sugar means what exactly to you. Eating a raw food diet for a while now, I realize the difference in fruit (sugar) and white table sugar, etc. Appreciate the info. Thanks.

    Kevin. Thanks for all this good info.

  22. Kerligirl says:

    I hate walnut! In fact, I don’t like any nuts at all. However, I do know the health benefits, so everyday I have a large smoothie and put in a handful of walnuts and twelve almonds. They are undetectable. I invested in a vitamix so I could puree everything I didn’t like or didn’t like together.

  23. Patricia says:

    Nuts and seeds are my favorite foods and walnuts are my favorite nut. I love them all and eat them every day. I am totally vegan and for two years I did not eat them because of the fat and my skin got too dry. Started eating them again and now my skin is good and I did not gain weight. Agree with Zyxomma, soak, amount, etc.

  24. karen says:

    I really like walnuts and know that they have health benefits. However, I take thyroid medicine and the label says that eating walnuts interferes with absorption of the medicine. Has anyone heard of this? Is it true?

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