New research bolsters the bennies of walnuts

Recent research presented at the annual meeting of Experimental Biology suggests walnuts may help fight cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging on our brains.

From slowing the growth of cancer cells to slowing the effect of aging on our brains, scientists have been cracking novel health benefits of walnuts. Some of the most recent findings were presented at the annual meeting Experimental Biology in Boston, Mass.

One of the abstracts presented described a cell study that suggested “walnut extract significantly slowed the survival of cancer stem cells,” according to a release about the research presented in Boston. The Korean scientists from the Ewha Womans University in Korea who conducted the research suggested there is reason to further explore the role of walnut consumption in colon cancer therapies targeting cancer stem cells.

An animal study conducted at the School of Medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center revealed a new mechanism through which walnuts change the gut microbiome that could have health promoting benefits. Another animal study at Tufts examined walnuts’ impact on aging brains. The researchers found that eating walnuts may protect the brain against the effects of aging.

University of California, Davis, scientists concluded that it’s probably the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA) in the walnuts that are responsible for improved vascular function seen in a study of postmenopausal women with high cholesterol. A 2013 study also suggested walnuts could play a beneficial role in preventing heart disease. Another study published that year in the Journal of Nutrition suggested a new mechanism through which the nuts, or their extracted oil, can reduce heart disease.

The new abstracts can be found in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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