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Health Benefits of Walnuts ExpandedHealth Benefits of Walnuts Expanded

August 3, 2006

1 Min Read
Health Benefits of Walnuts Expanded

According to a new study performed by researchers from the University of California-Davis, USDA's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Italy's University of Padova, walnuts might have more cardiovascular-health benefits to offer beyond their reported ability to help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol.

Over the course of their studies, the researchers found that laboratory hamsters fed walnuts had significantly lower levels of endothelin in their blood, a compound that causes arterial inflammation and plaque growth on blood vessels--thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Results from the study were recently reported earlier this week on the USDA-ARS website (see http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2006/060731.htm) and published in the Feb. 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition (see http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/136/2/428).

The researchers note that the results of the study were consistent with those of studies involving humans (as opposed to hamsters). They also suggest that their analysis leads them to believe that it was unlikely that the results of the study were due to the walnuts' vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) content. Rather, they suggest that the walnut-fat compartment is a likely location for the components responsible for the beneficial cardiovascular effects.

USDA-ARS reports that additional studies are needed to determine if this beneficial cardiovascular effect occurs in people who eat walnuts in moderate amounts.

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