Nuts are a time-honored component of the Mediterranean diet and may contribute to the lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the diet.
Regular nut consumption lowers total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) by 5 to 15%, which would tend to lower heart disease risk. Walnuts are particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.
Bix over at Fanatic Cook links to three scientific studies showing that walnuts:
- improved arterial function in people with type 2 diabetes
- improved arterial function in people with high cholesterol eating a Mediterranean diet
- decreased fasting insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes
- decreased LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes who were on a low-fat diet
The “dose” of walnuts in these studies was 1–2 ounces (28–56 g) daily.
For good reason, nuts have a prominent role in both the Advanced Mediterranean Diet and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.
I don’t know Bix, but he or she seems to base many of his/her nutrition opinions on scientific principles, which I appreciate.