What happens to your body if you consume 60g of walnuts per day according to this new study

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Elia Tabuenca García
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A handful of nuts a day is enough to lower blood LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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A handful of nuts a day is enough to lower blood LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, the study

Daily walnut consumption reduces the number of LDL particles, a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. Furthermore, walnuts are a valuable source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.

This is confirmed by a study released by the American Heart Association and published in the journal Circulation that explored the effects of a diet enriched with nuts on general cholesterol in elderly individuals from different geographic locations for two years. Conducted by researchers from the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, ​​the results showed that a daily consumption of 60 grams of whole walnuts lowers the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

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Previous studies have already shown how walnuts can be associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke. One reason is that they lower LDL cholesterol levels, and now we have another reason: they improve the quality of LDL particles - explains study co-author Emilio Ros. LDL particles are of various sizes. Research has shown that small, dense LDL particles are most often associated with atherosclerosis, plaque, or fatty deposits that build up in the arteries. Our study goes beyond LDL cholesterol levels to get a complete picture of all lipoproteins and the impact of daily walnut consumption on their potential to improve cardiovascular risk.

A systematic review

It was a two-year randomized controlled trial, conducted simultaneously by several European and US universities, which started in May 2012 and ran until May 2016.

The researchers involved a sample of 708 healthy participants between the ages of 63 and 79 (68% of whom were women), residing in Barcelona, ​​Spain, and Loma Linda, California. Participants were randomly divided into two groups: active intervention and control. Those assigned to the intervention group added about half a cup of nuts to their normal daily diet, while participants in the control group refrained from eating nuts. After two years, the participants' cholesterol levels were tested and the concentration and size of the lipoproteins were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This advanced test allows doctors to more accurately identify characteristics of lipoproteins known to be related to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

After two years, the patients' cholesterol levels, concentration and size of lipoproteins (an organic compound made up of a protein conjugated with a lipid component) were tested and eventually 632 participants completed the study and comprehensive analyzes of the lipoproteins were available for 628 of them.

As a result, participants in the first group (those who took walnuts) had lower LDL cholesterol levels, averaging 4,3 mg / dL, and total cholesterol decreased by an average 8,5 mg / dL. In addition, the number of total LDL particles was reduced by 4,3% and the small LDL particles by 6,1% with the daily consumption of walnuts. 

How do we deal with the hypothetical weight gain?

Eating a handful of nuts every day is an easy way to promote cardiovascular health. Many people are concerned about unwanted weight gain when they include nuts in their diet - Ros said. Our study found that the healthy fats in walnuts did not cause the participants to gain weight.

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Fonte: Circulation

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