Walnuts may take a lot of water to grow, but not as much as almonds—and their health benefits are likely superior. A recent study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care suggests just 14 of the nuts every day can improve cardiovascular health.
Previous research has suggested the nuts may help fight cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging on our brains. The new research, conducted at Yale University Prevention Research Center, focused on cardiovascular health among a group of subjects at high risk of developing diabetes.
When the subjects added 56 grams of walnuts (2 ounces, or about 14 walnuts) to their daily diet for six months, their blood vessel function lowered their “bad” LDL cholesterol, which builds up in blood vessels and can lead to blood clots and heart attacks. Blood vessel dysfunction and high LDL cholesterol are both risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The 31 male and 81 female subjects ranged in age from 25 to 75. They all had multiple risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure, being overweight, high blood sugar, high blood pressure or cholesterol or having excess fat around the midsection. The walnuts, however, did not improve fasting blood glucose, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure or body composition.
The study results suggest that walnuts can help maintain overall healthy eating habits. More research from larger and longer-term studies is still needed to fully understand their potential health-boosting power, Roberta Holt, a nutrition researcher at the University of California, Davis, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Reuters.