We know from earlier studies that walnuts are beneficial for heart health. New research from Yale now indicates that eating walnuts can prompt beneficial improvements in diets. Investigators recruited 112 people at high risk of diabetes (based on their weight, blood sugar or blood pressure levels). Half the participants added about two ounces of walnuts per day to their diets for six months and then stopped eating walnuts for six months. Half of all the participants received nutrition counseling, including the instructions to cut calories from other sources to offset the walnuts added to their diets. The other participants had no nutrition counseling. During the study the researchers checked all the participants’ cholesterol levels, blood vessel function, blood pressure, blood sugar, body fat and BMI. They reported slight improvements in blood vessel function and total and LDL cholesterol occurred in the walnut group, but the big change was that these participants also began to make healthier food choices than they had previously. As a result of these changes, the overall quality of their diets improved, suggesting that eating walnuts made a psychological as well as physiological difference.
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