New research may have people adding a handful of walnuts to their diets for good health. More than ever, Canadians are starting to look at the health benefits of the food that they consume in their diets. They are not only looking at the nutritional components of the foods, but are looking at the potential for disease prevention and the health-enhancing benefits of the food that will lead to good health.
Functional foods are foods that are similar to conventional food, but have been shown to have a physiological benefit as well, such as supporting good health when consumed in the diets of individuals. Functional foods contain functional components that provide potential benefits. Examples of functional foods include: fruits, vegetables, oats, barley, wheat, flax, rye, fish oils, dairy products and…walnuts. As was mentioned, functional foods contain function components; walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols and antioxidants. All of these ingredients, individually, have been shown to support good health.
A new study from 2011 supported previous research that showed that adding walnuts into diets leads to good health benefits by reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers from Marshall University in West Virginia found that regular consumption of walnuts as part of healthy diets may help to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer for future generations. This study was conducted on mice, but may be applied to human diets as well. The researchers found that the mice that were fed walnuts in their diets developed breast cancer at half of the rate of mice that did not have walnuts as part of their diets. Additionally, when the mice that were fed walnuts did develop breast cancer, there were fewer tumors and the tumors were significantly smaller. The diets of the mice consisted of walnuts equivalent to approximately 2 ounces for humans. More research is needed in order to understand the mechanism of tumor suppression and what active ingredient in the walnut is responsible for the lowered breast cancer risk. But for now, the research is positive; diets that include walnuts provide beneficial results and may result in good health.
Currently, research suggests that adding functional foods, such as walnuts to diets, will help people experience good health. Furthermore, functional foods will help to decrease healthcare costs and will help to support economic development in rural communities. Adding a handful or two of walnuts to your diet will be a quick and easy modification that could provide significant results to your health.