Walnuts contain good levels of omega 3

YES, I’m going nuts again …! This time it’s walnuts and they’re getting more good press. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that eating whole walnuts and using walnut oil as a salad dressing reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Senior author Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State, stated that although we already know that eating walnuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower blood cholesterol levels, we didn’t know which component of the walnut was providing this benefit. The research pointed to the alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-tocopherol and phytosterols in walnuts.

Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Gamma-tocopherol is a major form of vitamin E found in many plant seeds, and phytosterols are compounds found in plants that can lower cholesterol levels.

Walnuts, depression and omega 3

Walnuts contain more omega 3 than any other nut. Apart from lowering triglyceride levels, omega 3 is particularly important for the brain to function properly. Other studies have shown that eating more omega 3, either from walnuts or fish, can significantly lower depression. Many people who suffer from depression have low levels of omega 3 in their bodies. Several other studies have also linked omega 3 deficiency in children with ADHD.

The FDA has also recognised the benefits of eating nuts to control heart disease. Nuts that contain less than 4g of saturated fat per 50g include walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and some pine nuts. A study in 2009 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed those who ate walnuts had a significantly higher decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The study also showed that walnuts provided good levels of antioxidant protection with no adverse effects on body weight.

A handful of walnuts provide 2.5g of ALA, the plant-based source of omega 3, 4g protein, 2g fiber and 10% of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium and phosphorus.

Ref: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/04/24/jn.112.170993.abstract