There are a lot of nuts that rise to the top of the “healthiest nut” category depending on what you’re looking for. Although you’re unlikely to run into an unhealthy nut, walnuts may have a slight edge when talking about heart health.
Oh, and I should say the former sentences are true only if we’re talking about raw or roasted nuts. The health value can go out the window when they’re candied.
But to get back on track, walnuts may have some extra benefit for heart health. They’re the only nut with a decent serving of omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy unsaturated fat that’s associated with a host of benefits.
A new research paper published in Circulation suggests that walnuts are an effective tool to modestly reduce cholesterol, regardless of where you live or how you eat.
Adding a handful or so of almonds to your diet per day – 30 to 60 grams, or roughly 15 percent of daily calories – was enough to reduce both “bad” LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Eating walnuts seemed to have no impact on “good” HDL, which is a good thing if it’s reducing dangerous LDL.
The research team arrived at their result by enrolling slightly more than 700 adults between the ages of 63 and 79. They were either assigned to a walnut-free diet (as a control) or a walnut-supplemented diet.
During the study period, participants’ weight stayed stable and both groups followed the diets well. The only real difference between them was that the walnut group saw significant reductions in cholesterol.
Eating a handful or two of walnuts each day could be a safe, easy, and effective way to promote heart health and reduce cholesterol.
One detail to note is that the research was conducted by researchers with relationships to the walnut industry, which also partly funded the work. That said, walnuts have repeatedly been associated with improved heart health and lipid levels, as well as being recommended as part of a healthy diet.