November 9/Right Vision News -- A new clinical study shows that substituting walnuts for monounsaturated fat in a Mediterranean diet improves, and even restores, endothelial function (the property of arteries to dilate in order to meet an increased demand of blood, for instance due to a physical effort).
Walnuts also reduce harmful cell adhesion molecules which are associated with atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries. These dual effects enhance the circulatory system, therefore aiding in the prevention of heart disease.
The study concludes that the results provide further support for the inclusion of walnuts in healthy diets. "This is the first time a whole food, not its isolated components, has shown this beneficial effect on vascular health," according to Emilio Ros, M.D., the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, researcher who directed the study at the setting of the Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS). Ros notes, "Compared with the Mediterranean diet, the walnut diet increased endothelium-dependent vasodilation by 64% and reduced levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 by 20%. In addition, as in previous studies, the walnut diet decreased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
From the November 22, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition