by Julie Corliss: What can you add to a wide variety of foods, from cereals to salads,

Walnets-awaken

that’s crunchy, filling, and flavorful — and good for your heart? The answer is nuts. While all varieties of nuts are chock full of important nutrients, walnuts may be especially good for protecting cardiovascular health, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation that supports earlier research in this realm.

What is the study?

The Walnuts and Healthy Aging study is a randomized controlled trial supported by a grant from the California Walnut Commission that tracked healthy older adults living in two communities. For the study, researchers recruited 708 adults ages 63 to 79 living in Loma Linda, California, or Barcelona, Spain, and split them into two groups. One group added about a quarter-cup to a half-cup of walnuts to their daily diet for two years, while the other group ate no walnuts.

After two years, average levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were modestly lower in the walnut group. Of note: nearly a third of the participants were taking cholesterol-lowering statins, so the average cholesterol levels of both groups were already in a normal range. The researchers speculate that the cholesterol-lowering benefits from walnuts might be more pronounced in people with elevated cholesterol levels. There is no way to know from the current data if this is true.

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Source: Harvard Health