Walnuts Protect Against Saturated Fat

Thu, 8 Dec. 2011 - 5:49 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

A clinical study published in October in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that walnuts, rich in polyunsaturated fats, may protect the body’s arteries from the harm associated with eating a meal high in saturated fat. Surprisingly, walnuts outperformed olive oil in this capacity (though olive oil is similarly effective, and the highly-touted Mediterranean diet in fact utilizes both olive oil and walnuts in abundance).

 

Consumption of a meal high in saturated fat typically causes an inflammatory response in the body that negatively impacts the ability of the arteries to carry necessary blood to tissue and organs and promotes the formation of artery clogging plaque. This response was limited by adding walnuts to such a meal.  

 

Walnuts, unlike other nuts, contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential plant-based omega-3.  They also provide antioxidants and L-arginine, components identified in past studies as potential nutrients that improve artery function.

 

(J. Am. Coll. Cardiol., 2006, Vol. 48, No. 8, pp. 1666-1671)

 

(RUNNING & FITNEWS®November/December/January  2006-2007 • Volume 25, Number 1)




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