Walnuts can slash diabetes risk

Eating walnuts may help to reduce type 2 diabetes risk in women, a new study concludes.

Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the research found that consuming the hard-shelled nuts two to three times a week can slash risk for the disease by almost a quarter.

The study

Health data was collected on 138,000 women beginning in 1999. The women were followed for 10 years, and researchers found 5,930 cases of type 2 diabetes. Women who consumed walnuts were found to weigh less, exercise more and eat more fish than women who did not eat walnuts. Even after controlling for these factors and other variables, eating 8 ounces of walnuts or more per month was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

“There’s been a lot of research on nuts in general in relation to cardiovascular health,” senior author Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an article on NYTimes.com. “This is the first on walnuts and diabetes. Walnuts may have some unique benefits.”

The role of omega fatty acids

Walnuts are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help to lower triglycerides and contribute to a healthy hormone balance, assisting in weight loss.

A recent Louisiana State University study also found that eating nuts can reduce risk for obesity, suggesting that the consumption of almonds, cashews and pistachios can lead to lower body weight and smaller waist circumference.

"Previous studies in our cohorts revealed that frequent nut consumption was associated with less weight gain," wrote Hu and his colleagues. "Therefore, it is possible that body weight mediated the association between nut consumption and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes."

Source: NYTimes.com, DNA India

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