Walnuts may offer beneficial effects on inflammation and metabolism especially when combined with other whole foods, a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition revealed. These benefits may be amplified when walnuts, which are rich in ALA, the plant based form of omega-3 fatty acid, are paired with cherries, raspberries, and green tea.
The study, led by Dr. Neil Shay of Oregon State University, evaluated the consumption of walnuts in combination with a number of other whole foods in a typical Western diet to measure potential health benefits. The human equivalent of a low-fat or high-fat diet, in addition to a high-fat diet with 8.6% added walnut by weight were fed to mice. Other groups were provided the walnut diet with a second whole food. Results showed the strongest pairings were walnuts with cherries, raspberries, or green tea.
After 10 weeks the walnut group was markedly healthier than the high-fat control group. Compared to those fed a high-fat diet, hepatic (liver) fat concentrations were reduced in mice fed walnuts and walnuts with other whole foods. The study also found that the addition of a second whole food in combination with walnut produced other changes in metabolite and gene expression levels and other physiological parameters, contributing to the beneficial effects on inflammation and metabolism.
Dr. Shay explained, “While much study has been done on individual foods or the effect of specific nutrients, human beings don’t eat just one thing or nutrient, we eat a variety of foods together. This study looks at how different whole foods work together to potentially have a positive effect in a Western diet. “He went on to say, “What is important to remember is these significant changes are occurring at typical levels of intake, representing only 1.5 servings of each food per day.”
“The outcomes of this study confirm walnuts role as a whole food in a balanced diet,” said Dennis a Balint, CEO of the California Walnut Commission. “The CWC will continue to invest in health research to establish stronger evidence as to walnuts’ exceptional benefits.” To date the CWC has supported research that has resulted in over 100 peer reviewed publications.
According to Naini Setalvad, Obesity, Health and Food Consultant, “A daily handful of walnuts, especially when paired with other healthy foods, may help to offset some of the impacts of junk food being consumed by millions of Indians these days. California walnuts contain vital nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Walnuts are the only nut which contains a significant amount of alpha linolenic acid, plant-based omega-3 fatty acid required by the human body that must to be obtained through the diet. Walnuts are a powerhouse of nutrients including fiber, protein, and potassium.”
These studies were supported in part by the California Walnut Commission (CWC). The CWC has supported health-related research on walnuts for over 25 years. While the CWC does provide funds and/or walnuts for various projects, the actual studies are conducted independently by researchers who design the experiments, interpret the results and write the manuscripts.
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.walnuts.org.
About The SCS Group
The SCS Group is an agribusiness consulting firm based in Gurgaon, specializing in marketing, international trade and communications strategy related to food, beverage and agricultural products. The firm has an intimate understanding of the evolving tastes and purchasing patterns of premium foods by the Indian consumer as their disposable incomes grow and they integrate into the global economy. The SCS Group represents the California Walnut Commission in India.