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Harvard Scientists Claim That Walnuts May Lower Cholesterol

Diets loaded with walnuts can significantly reduce cholesterol according to a meta-analysis conducted by Harvard scientists.

The meta-analysis, which analyzed 13 separate studies, was published in the July 2009 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The 13 studies all compared a walnut-enhanced diet to a control diet and included over 350 total participants.

The diets lasted between 4 and 24 weeks and for the walnut-enhanced diets, walnuts provided between 10% and 24% of total calories.

The researchers found that diets rich in walnuts resulted in a significantly greater decrease in total cholesterol and in LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared to control diets.

They also found that walnuts may provide a number of other health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, the researchers observed no adverse affects on body weight.  This is important because the scientific community is always wary about suggesting that we increase our consumption of nuts as they tend to be a high calorie food.

Previous studies have found an association between walnut consumption and improvements in markers of cardiovascular health but the researchers note that larger and longer trials are needed to verify those findings.

Walnuts are a great source of protein and are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E.

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