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Walnuts May Improve Diabetic's Heart Health

Eating more walnuts may help diabetics avoid heart disease according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

For the study, researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine recruited 24 participants with type-2 diabetes and an average age of 58.

For eight weeks, half of the participants were assigned a diet that included 56 grams (about ½ cup) of walnuts per day. The other half followed a diet that had the same calorie consumption but no walnuts.

The researchers measured blood flow using a technique called flow-mediate dilation at the beginning and end of the study.

By the end of the study, the researchers observed a significant improvement (2.2%) in blood flow among the individuals on the walnut diet, compared to 1.2% in the non-supplemented group.

The walnut diet also moderately reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Larger studies are necessary to verify these findings but a number of previous studies have already linked walnuts to better heart health among diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

Walnuts have been associated with a host of other health benefits due to their antioxidant and ant-inflammatory properties. Walnuts are also a great source of protein and are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E.

This study shows that eating walnuts may be a way for diabetics to keep their heart healthy. With approximately 8% of the US population currently diagnosed with diabetes (a number only expected to rise), at a cost to the US of an estimated $174 billion annually, it is becoming increasingly important to find ways of combating the effects of diabetes.

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