For the health conscious folks around the world who get uncomfortable after a heavy meal here is a piece of good news. Research conducted recently in Spain have proven that eating 6-8 walnuts (approx.40g) after a rich fatty meal, could actually curb the inflammatory changes that are triggered of in the walls of arteries after a highly fatty meal.
The study, expected to be published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which was funded in part by the California Walnut Board .The research led by Dr. Emilio Ros, director of the Lipid Clinic at Hospital Clinico in Barcelona, conducted a study on 24 healthy non smoker adults of whom had normal body weights and normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Half the candidates had Cholesterol levels moderately on the higher side. The group was then randomly divided into two halves and to both groups two meals comprising of a high fat content was given with an interval of one week between the two meals The meal consisted of a salami and cheese sandwich made from white bread followed by a helping of unclimbed creamy yoghurt. In the specified experimental study the researchers included 5 teaspoonfuls of Olive oil, (known to counter bad effects of a fat rich diet and to protect the heart and arteries) to the meal of one group and a handful (about 8 walnuts) to the meal of the other group.
The study aimed at assessing the benefit of walnuts in maintaining the elasticity of arteries and to compare its effect with the therapeutic value of olive oil in countering cardiac diseases related with fatty deposits on blood vessel walls.
The tests revealed that although both olive oil and walnuts help to hinder the commencement of inflammation and oxidation in arteries triggered by a meal rich in saturated fat , its walnuts which help preserve the blood vessels' elasticity owing to the presence of alpha-linolenic acid which is akin having the same chemical structure as the omega-3 fatty acids proven to be extremely beneficial in helping to raise levels of HDL cholesterol in blood, often called the "good" cholesterol that helps keep arteries patent . Studies also revealed that walnuts are more efficient in keeping arteries elastic even when cholesterol levels are moderately high.
Arteries that are elastic can swell to accommodate more blood supply when required. Fat molecules prompt inflammation and oxidation in arteries causing hardening of vessel walls which can eventually cause hardening of the arteries and heart disease.. Ultrasound examinations revealed that the arteries of those who had walnuts were more supple and elastic after the fatty meal than those who had olive oil.