After analysis of 13 different studies, it appears that eating about an ounce or more of walnuts daily — that’s about 14 halves or a quarter cup of pieces — not only lowered LDL cholesterol significantly but also lowered total cholesterol by about 5 percent.
And that’s not all walnuts can do, say the researchers. Walnuts may also quiet inflammation and help relax and dilate blood vessels as well — two mechanisms that are super beneficial when it comes to cutting cardiovascular disease risk. Not to mention heart attack risk. (Did you know? Walnuts are so great that they may even undo blood vessel damage caused by high blood sugar.)
Why Walnuts Win
Just about any nut you choose to nibble on will be a boon to heart health. But walnuts are great because they tend to have more polyunsaturated fatty acids compared with other nuts — especially heart-friendly alpha linolenic acid, which is thought to do a great job of stymieing plaque accumulation in arteries. And if you’re worried that walnuts will pad your waistline, don’t be. Just use them to replace less nutritious foods in your diet. Here are some examples of how walnuts can add some waistline-friendly crunch to your meals:
- Use walnut oil instead of butter to jazz up vegetables I discovered this wonderful oil about a year ago, and I’m hooked. You can buy it at Kroger. Great on a spinach salad mixed with balsamic vinegar and a big squirt of mustard.
- Use them in place of some of the fatty dressings in salad sandwiches, such as tuna. And yes, they are great on pizza topped with a helping of dressed spinach salad.