Shaped like our brain, our parents have always been a fan of walnuts-not for their own consumption but for putting their kids under compulsion to consume them. All this is because of its structure-shaped like a brain though there are claims that it increases intelligence our mothers and fathers are not huge fans of scientific evidence but prefer to put their own logical skills to use-deciding that it’s the best for their kid based on its structure. But believe me or not, walnut indeed is one of the best picks for a healthy dish. In general, nuts are rich sources of nutrients and one of the versatile options for a mid-day or an evening snack. There are different varieties of nuts each bringing in a different taste, unique flavour and benefit upon the human body. While we might be fans of almonds, cashews or pistachios not many prefer the walnut owing to its slightly bitter taste. But you would definitely feel better about popping in some walnuts into your mouth once you realize its different benefits.
High in proteins, calcium and iron walnuts have been hailed as an effective dietary component to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Now, they might offer cardiovascular protection too. Previously, it was seen that eating walnuts alongside a diet that’s low in saturated fats might offer heart-healthy benefits but the latest research shows that including walnuts as a daily part of your diet increases the presence of good bacteria in the gut thereby safeguarding heart health.
The randomized control trial done on 42 participants with overweight/obesity aged 30-65 years shows that individuals who consumed a walnut-enriched diet showed significant association between changes in gut bacteria and risk factors for heart disease. The walnut diet paved way to an increase in the number of gut bacteria that promoted health benefits which includes those such as Eubacteria eligens, Roseburia and Butyricicoccus. Greater the number of Eubacteria or Lachnospiraceae higher was reduction in blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. There were no changes found in gut bacteria following the walnut-free diet and risk factors for heart health.
The gut bacteria are seen to play an evident role in modifying our health-for the better or worse depending on the food that we eat. The baby acquires gut bacteria from the birth canal of its mother which is later modified based on environmental and lifestyle factors. For more information about how mode of delivery affects gut bacteria composition please visit www.firsteatright.com. So, when walnuts have a positive influence on this gut bacteria composition which in turn benefits heart health it is high time that we include them in our daily diet in controlled portion sizes by getting in touch with dietitians and nutritionists. Replace your unhealthy snacks with walnuts to provide your body with fatty acids, fibre and bioactive compounds. A small change in your diet can bring about greater health benefits.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.