"Each time we eat a high-fat meal, the fat molecules trigger an inflammatory reaction that, among other ill effects, reduces the elasticity of the arteries. Over time, this repeated damage is thought to contribute to hardening of the arteries and, in turn, to heart disease. Our latest research shows that eating walnuts helps to maintain the elasticity of the arteries," said Dr. Emilio Ros at the Hospital Clinico in Barcelona.
Moreover, experts claim that walnuts, which contain polyunsaturated fats, have more benefits than olive oil does.
Dr. Emilio Ros tried to explain the findings by stating that "walnuts, unlike olive oil and other nuts, contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid, an essential plant based omega-3. They also provide antioxidants and L-arginine, components identified in past studies as potential nutrients that improve artery function."
The Spanish researcher examined 24 adults. Half of the 24 participants had normal cholesterol levels, while the other 12 had a cholesterol level a little higher than the normal one.
Participants at the study were asked to eat high-fat cheese and salami twice a week. After the first meal high in saturated fats they were given olive oil and after the second one they received walnuts.
At the end of the study scientists revealed that both olive oil and walnuts reduce the inflammation arteries might suffer because of unhealthy diet, but walnuts are more effective.
However, experts warn that the recent findings do not encourage eating fatty fats, but outline that walnuts should be included in healthy diets.
"Consumers would get the wrong message from our findings if they think they can continue eating unhealthy fats provided they add walnuts to their meals. People should consume a typical Mediterranean diet low in saturated fats and high in foods containing polyunsaturated fats, such as walnuts," concluded Dr. Emilio Ros.
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