Areas of Study

Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, based on observational studies. Although observational studies provide valuable insight, the findings cannot definitively establish that obesity causes cancer. Despite limitations among these studies, the evidence suggests that lower weight gain during adulthood is associated with reduced risk of a number of cancers.

Learn more about obesity and cancer

Diabetes

For many reasons, walnuts can be a nutritious food for people living with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes and about 23 percent of adults are affected by metabolic syndrome.1,2 Individuals with diabetes or metabolic syndrome often have conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, high triglycerides and obesity, which increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Walnuts are a heart-healthy food3 with more than 25 years of research showing how they may have beneficial effects on various factors related to heart health such as LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and plaque formation. Walnuts can also easily be part of a healthy diet that won’t contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss goals.4,5,6 Walnuts contain important nutrients, like omega-3 ALA (2.5 g/oz), protein (4 g/oz) and fiber (2 g/oz), so they can be eaten in place of less healthy choices to improve diet quality.

Healthy Aging

The effects of aging can impact quality of life and the ability to maintain independence. Research on the role of diet on brain health continues to evolve.Limited evidence suggests that eating a diet containing a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and seafood during adulthood is associated with lower risk of age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart Health

Walnuts are a heart-healthy food, certified through the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check program.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. The good news is that many of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be controlled with dietary and lifestyle changes.

Mediterranean Diet

Walnuts were a key component in the landmark PREDIMED study (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea, or Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) study. This research showed that a Mediterranean diet which includes nuts (primarily walnuts) or extra virgin olive oil, may reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, compared to a low-fat diet.1 Study participants were older adults who lived in Spain and were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. More research is needed to understand the health benefits in other populations.

Reproductive Health

study of healthy young men (ages 21-35 years), who ate 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day, experienced positive shifts in sperm quality factors, including both motility (movement) and morphology (form).1 Consuming walnuts may have contributed to shifts in certain sperm quality factors in these healthy young men, but more research is needed to understand how these findings impact the broader male population, including men in fertility clinics. Watch this video to learn more about men’s reproductive health research.

Weight

Although walnuts contain dietary fat, they won’t necessarily make you gain body fat. Walnuts are predominantly made up of good fats, which play an important role in the diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends shifting food choices from those high in saturated fats to those high in good unsaturated fats, like those found in walnuts.

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