Multiple new research abstracts suggest walnuts may have the potential to positively affect several important health factors. From their impact on colon cancer and certain aspects of cognitive aging, to their positive effect on both gut health and vascular health, the research findings detail our latest understanding of walnuts' inner workings.
Running March 28 through April 1 in Boston, this annual meeting attracts an international audience of over 14,000 leading research scientists and exhibitors.
Dennis A. Balint, CEO, California Walnut Commission, said that the findings help advance the understanding of the many advantages of eating walnuts as part of a healthy diet, and add to the more than 159 published papers over 20 years that have shown how walnuts affect heart health, diabetes, cancer, cognition, fertility and weight management.
The following summaries share the latest findings:
Colon Cancer: This cell study, conducted for the first time showed that walnut extract significantly slowed the survival of the cancer stem cells as well as reduced the stemness of colon cancer stem cells. Given the results, researchers state there is reason to further explore the role of walnut consumption in colon cancer therapies targeting cancer stem cells.
Gut Health: A recent animal study looked at the effect of walnuts on two major gut bacteria communities. A diet with walnuts significantly altered the ratio of the two communities, therefore suggesting "a new mechanism, changing the gut microbial environment, by which walnuts may exert their beneficial health effects." As this study was performed on animals, however, findings cannot yet be implied for humans.
Aging/Brain Health: According to the researchers, incorporating walnuts into one's diet may have protective effects on the aging brain. As this study was performed on animals, however, findings cannot yet be implied for humans.
Vascular Health: A study of postmenopausal women with high cholesterol looked at the short-term impact of walnut consumption. The group that ate 40 grams, or 1.5 ounces, of walnuts per day saw improved vascular function. The study concludes this improvement is due to the effects from the walnut-derived fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA).
The study was presented at Experimental Biology 2015.