Consuming Nuts Linked with Reduced Inflammation in Older Adults

Older adults who regularly consume nuts have seen reductions in inflammation than those who do not, according to results from a new analysis.

Researchers for the paper assessed changes in circulating inflammatorey molecules in patients in the Walnuts and Health Aging (WAHA) trial. The study sample consisted of 634 adult participants. Participants were divided into those with walnuts in their diet (n=324) and those in a control group (n=310).

According to the study results, compliance with the walnut-rich diet was high, and there were no reported changes in patient body weight. The walnut diet was associated with significant reductions in the concentrations of six of 10 inflammatory biomarkers (GM-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and sE-selectin) compared with the control diet.

“Walnuts have an optimal mix of essential nutrients like the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA (2.5g/oz), and other highly bioactive components like polyphenols2, that likely play a role in their anti-inflammatory effect and other health benefits,” Dr. Ross explained.

Ultimately, the results suggested beneficial anti-inflammatory effects for walnuts that could help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease beyond just cholesterol-lowering.

“Acute inflammation is a physiological process due to activation of the immune system by injury such as trauma or infection, and is an important defense of the body”, lead researcher Dr. Emilio Ros, of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, in partnership with Loma Linda University, said in a press release. “Short-term inflammation helps us heal wounds and fight infections, but inflammation that persists overtime (chronic), caused by factors such as poor diet, obesity, stress and high blood pressure, is damaging instead of healing, particularly when it comes to cardiovascular health. The findings of this study suggest walnuts are one food that may lessen chronic inflammation, which could help to reduce the risk for heart disease – a condition we become more susceptible to as we age.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.