|Further Study Details:
Walnuts are a nutrient-dense whole food source of antioxidants and an essential omega-3 fatty acid, and are thought to be beneficial to cardiovascular health. Our prior study followed 24 adults with diabetes, and found that consuming 2 ounces of walnuts per day for 8 weeks (in addition to their usual diets) significantly improved endothelial function compared to their usual diets without walnuts. The new study will examine the effects of daily walnut consumption (2 ounces per day for 8 weeks) among 46 overweight non-diabetic men and women who have at least one risk factor for metabolic syndrome, but who have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. Specifically, it will examine whether consuming walnuts has an effect on endothelial function, blood pressure, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight, or waist circumference.
*Cardiovascular health is a research priority at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. We have a vascular lab where we conduct studies of endothelial function – a measure of blood vessel behavior. Blood flow and blood vessel reactivity are indicators of heart health. When blood vessels dilate (expand) or constrict (shrink) properly, endothelial function is considered to be normal. If they constrict when they should dilate, endothelial function is abnormal. Impaired (or abnormal) endothelial function is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. We measure endothelial functioning with the use of ultrasound imaging of the brachial artery in the arm (called Brachial Artery Reactivity Scan or BARS) – a simple and painless procedure which provides a picture of the blood vessels.