A team of researchers led by JoAnn F. Manson of the Harvard School of Public Health has drawn a correlation between the consumption of walnut oil and a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes in women. The findings were made in February of this year, with the release of print issue No. 4 from volume 143 of the Journal of Nutrition. Prior medical evidence linking the polyunsaturated fatty acid content in walnut oil with a lowered risk of cardio-metabolic conditions served as the springboard for the research. Other members of the research team led by Manson are An Pan, Qi Sun, Frank Hu, and Walter Willett, who hail from private and public medical and academic institutions in Boston and Singapore.
The research involved two decades of a large sample cohort of nearly 60,000 women in two groups, aged 62-57 and 35-52 years of age, from the Nurses Health Study I and II, respectively. Findings showed that eating walnuts is inversely associated with the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and the reduced risk is mediated by body mass index. Alongside several other studies, the research by Manson et al. provided a scaffold for the hypothesis incorporating nuts as a component of a healthy, balanced which helps prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Main Nutritional Components of Walnut Oil
Walnut oil is high in triglycerides, the heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. Among these triglycerides are polyunsaturated fats such as a-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, and the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid. It is also rich in bioactive gamma-tocopherol, which is a nutritionally superior form of vitamin E. Another bioactive component is phytosterol.
Other Health Benefits of Walnut Oil
Aside from its potential to reduce risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, there are other documented health benefits of walnut oil which include anti-inflammatory properties from the endogenous production of ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from alpha-linolenic acid; anti-oxidant properties which fight or delay aging from gamma-tocopherol; and cholesterol reduction from phytosterols.
Walnut oil lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol levels, reinforcing the integrity of cell membranes.
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