With Thanksgiving right around the corner, let’s talk about cholesterol.
Because there are a few traditions that might simply spell trouble for your heart. (Especially if you fall victim to holiday yo-yo dieting.)
But the good news is, some other traditions are quite beneficial—and offer significant protection.
In fact, here’s one cholesterol-slashing snack we can all get excited about…
Heart health by the handful
This latest study was part of a randomized, controlled trial called the Walnuts and Healthy Aging study. And it looked at whether regular walnut consumption could lead to better cholesterol levels.
It featured more than 700 subjects between 63 and 79 years old. All were healthy, independent residents of Spain and California.
Researchers divided the subjects into two groups: Those who ate about a half cup of walnuts as part of their usual diet, and those who didn’t. After two years, the researchers then tested subjects’ cholesterol levels, as well as size and density of lipoproteins.
(So-called “bad” LDL cholesterol is made up of large and small particles. Large and fluffy particles are quite normal—even healthy. But small, dense particles [classified as very-low-density LDL, or VLDL] are the troublemakers.)
And here’s what they found. The walnut eaters had:
- Lower LDL and total cholesterol levels.
- Lower levels of small LDL particles.
- Lower Intermediate Density Lipoprotein (IDL)—particles between low-density and very-low-density.
And finally, LDL cholesterol dipped more dramatically in men than in women.
In other words? Simply eating a large handful of walnuts every day was enough to make a notable difference in total levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol—and more importantly, in the number of dangerous small LDL particles.
Walnuts fight diabetes, too
These results are impressive all by themselves. Especially if something as delicious as walnuts can help keep people off dangerous, cholesterol-lowering drugs—like statins.
And in light of yesterday’s conversation—which suggested statin drugs can worsen diabetes—let me also point out that walnuts do the exact opposite: they also help protect diabetics.
In fact, researchers used data from the famous Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS II, which followed over 137,000 women for roughly a decade. They analyzed the women’s eating habits—and nut consumption—to see how it correlates to diabetes risk.
Results appeared in the Journal of Nutrition. And they showed that women who ate walnuts one to three times a month had a 4 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Plus, eating walnuts once a week was linked to a 13 percent lower risk of the disease. And eating walnuts twice a week cut diabetes risk by 24 percent.
That’s a compelling conclusion right there. And it’s a far cry from the latest findings of statin drugs, to say the least. So please pass the walnuts this Thanksgiving (and year-round)… the more, the better.
For more details about the health benefits of walnuts—and other nuts—as well as for some delicious ways to incorporate them into your cooking, I suggest ordering yourself a copy of my A-List Diet book.
“Eating walnuts daily lowered ‘bad’ cholesterol and may reduce cardiovascular disease risk.” Science Daily, 08/30/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210830081805.htm)