ISTANBUL — (ARAB NEWSWIRE) — Researchers who reviewed 20 years of diet history and 30 years of physical and clinical measurements have found participants who ate walnuts early on in life showed a greater likelihood for being more physically active, having a higher quality diet, and experiencing a better heart disease risk profile as they aged into middle adulthood.
These novel findings come from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA),1 a long-term and ongoing study that is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and aimed at examining the development of heart disease risk factors over time.
This study is one of the longest to suggest that the simple act of adding about a handful of heart-healthy^ walnuts into the diet often could act as a bridge to other health-promoting lifestyle habits later in life.
The findings also reinforce that walnuts might be an easy and accessible food choice to improve a variety of heart disease risk factors when eaten in young to middle adulthood.
In this recent study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, & Cardiovascular Diseases,2 University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers note that a possible explanation for the results could be due to the unique combination of nutrients found in walnuts and their effect on health outcomes.
Walnuts are the only tree nut that is an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (2.5 grams/oz.), which research shows may play a role in heart health, brain health and healthy aging.^,3,4 Additionally, just one serving of walnuts (1 oz.), or about a handful, contains a variety of other important nutrients to support overall health including 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and a good source of magnesium (45 milligrams). Walnuts also offer a variety of antioxidants, including polyphenols.
According to Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Lead Researcher on CARDIA, Lyn M. Steffen, PhD, MPH, RD, “Walnut eaters seem to have a unique body phenotype that carries with it other positive impacts on health like better diet quality, especially when they start eating walnuts from young into middle adulthood – as risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes elevates.”
Healthy Living Habits Carry Great Importance in MENA Region
The demographic patterns in the MENA region with regards to the elderly populations is one of increased levels of longevity. People are living longer than ever before due to improvements in the health care system. A paper written by Patrick Clawson for the Washington Institute predicts that within ‘a few decades, the Middle East is expected to experience a rapid increase in the elderly population, which by 2050 will exceed the number of children in many of the region’s countries’. Research carried out by the Rockefeller Foundation notes that life expectancy in the MENA region is on the increase. Furthermore, the improvement in life expectancy is due to the better medical facilities that are available. The RockefellerFoundation states that: ‘Life expectancy across the Arab world averages nearly 68 years, up from 52 in 1970-75. In 2000, approximately 10 million people in the MENA region were aged above 65 years; in 2030, this bracket will constitute roughly 50 million’5.
- Steffen LM, Yi SY, Duprez D, Zhou X, Shikany JM, Jacobs DR Jr. Walnut consumption and cardiac phenotypes: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2021;31(1):95-101.
- Yi SY, et al. Association of nut consumption with CVD risk factors in young to middle-aged adults: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study [published online ahead of print July 30, 2022]. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2022.07.013.
- Sala-Vila A, et al. Impact of α-linolenic acid, the vegetable ω-3 fatty acid, on cardiovascular disease and cognition [published online ahead of print February 16, 2022]. Advances in Nutrition. doi:10.1093/advances/nmac016.
- Sala-Vila A, et al. Effect of a 2-year diet intervention with walnuts on cognitive decline. The Walnuts And Healthy Aging (WAHA) study: A randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nut. 2020;111(3):590–600.
About California Walnut Commission:
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities. For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit www.californiawalnuts.ae.
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