Islamabad - Two handfuls of walnuts a day could help stave off heart disease , a new study has revealed.
The tree nuts lower total cholesterol levels in the body, thus reducing the chances of a person suffering a heart attack. The snack contains important nutrients such as unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, researchers said.
Dr Michael Falk, one of the authors from the Life Sciences Research Organisation said, “Our study results further support the growing body of research that tree nuts, such as walnuts, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”
Consuming at least two servings - two ounces - of walnuts each day has a strong effect on lowering total cholesterol and LDL levels - ‘bad’ cholesterol, scientists have revealed
‘Tree nuts contain important nutrients. Walnuts are the only nut that provide a significant amount - 2.5g per one ounce serving - of alpha-linolenic (ALA), the plant-based form of omega-3.’
Dr Falk and his team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 61 controlled trials to arrive at their conclusions.
They found walnuts are effective in lowering total cholesterol, LDL, so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, and ApoB, the primary protein found in LDL cholesterol. These are key factors that are used to evaluate a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr Falk said the findings show consuming at least two servings - two ounces - of walnuts each day jas stronger effects of total cholesterol and LDL levels.
High cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of heart disease , and ultimately heart attack
Additionally, the results showed that tree nut consumption may be particularly important for lowering the risk of heart disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Of 1,301 articles reviewed, 61 trials met the eligibility criteria for Dr Falk’s review - incorporating 2,582 people.
Trials directly provided nuts to the intervention group rather than relying solely on dietary advise to consume nuts.
The dose of nuts varied from five to 100g each day, and most participants followed their typical diet. More than two decades of research has shown that walnuts may help lower cardiovascular risk factors by decreasing LDL by nine to 16 per cent, and diastolic blood pressure by 2-3mmHg2. Studies have also shown the tree nuts can reduce total cholesterol, while increasing levels of HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, reducing inflammation and improving arterial function.
These factors are major contributors to heart disease risk, and reducing them is a critical step toward a healthier heart. In addition to providing omega-3s, walnuts also deliver a convenient source of fibre (two grams per ounce) and protein (four grams per ounce).
Exercise can reduce heart failure risk regardless your age
Starting to exercise later in life can still reduce your risk of heart failure, and even modest increases in activity could provide some protection, researchers say.
“Our findings suggest that when it comes to exercise and heart failure, the better-later-than-never axiom rings particularly true, and that even small boosts in activity can cut risk,” senior investigator Dr Chiadi Ndumele said in a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine news release. He is a preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the medical school. The researchers studied the exercise habits of about 11,000 American men and women in a 20-year government study on aging and heart disease . All were between the ages of 45 and 64. None had heart disease at the start of the study.
Activity levels were assessed on two consecutive visits over six years. Compared to those who were inactive at both visits, people who met or exceeded recommended physical activity levels of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week at both visits were 33 percent less likely to develop heart failure, the study found. Those who were consistently getting modest amounts of exercise — less than 149 minutes of moderate activity or less than 74 minutes of vigorous activity a week — had a 20 per cent lower risk, the study revealed. But the researchers also found that inactive people who got moving to reach recommended physical activity levels at some point during the study reduced their risk of heart failure — by 22 per cent.
Inactive folks who increased their activity levels to about 30 minutes of walking four times a week reduced their risk by 12 per cent, the researchers said. The study was presented earlier this month at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Study first author Dr. Roberta Florido, a cardiology fellow at Hopkins, said in the news release, “Many people get discouraged if they don’t have the time or ability to exercise vigorously, but our findings demonstrate that every little bit of movement matters and that picking up exercise later in life is decidedly better than not moving at all.”
About 5 million Americans and 23 million people worldwide have heart failure, the researchers said.