Handful of walnuts each week is recipe for women’s health

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    Women who eat a handful of walnuts a week are more active independent and vigorous in old age, research suggests.

    A study of more than 50,000 nurses over 30 years found that those who ate about a dozen walnut halves, once or twice a week reduced their risk of becoming frail or needing care when elderly.

    Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, say that the walnut, which has more protective antioxidants than the peanut or brazil nut, is among a few superfoods associated with a better quality of life.

    “There is a lot of research that looks at specific health conditions in ageing, such as diabetes and heart disease but less attention to research on quality of life and ability to maintain independence with ageing,” Francine Grodstein, who led the research, said.

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    “The simple message from this study is eating an overall healthy diet, including certain foods, such as walnuts and other whole foods, may help women with the ability to do key everyday tasks as they age, like carrying groceries or dressing themselves.”

    The study published in The Journal of Nutrition also underlined the importance of diet quality to fight off physical impairments.

    The researchers analysed data from 54,762 American women in the Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked women for more than 30 years. Between 1992 and 2008 they were asked questions about their physical function, including their ability to perform basic activities of daily living.

    “These results add to the large body of evidence that outline the many benefits of a healthy diet for women,” Professor Grodstein said. “Additional research is needed to better understand how diet and lifestyle choices can help maintain our health and wellbeing as we age.”

    The study, funded by the California Walnut Commission, found that women who ate lots of nuts, fruit and vegetables and avoided cakes, biscuits and takeaways were more physically independent as they aged.

    In addition to walnuts, the fruit and vegetables most linked to better health for elderly women were oranges, apples, pears and romaine or leaf lettuce.

    The findings build on earlier evidence from a trial conducted at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, that found a handful of walnuts contained twice as many free radical fighting antioxidants than a handful of any other commonly eaten nut.

    Previous research has found that walnuts are linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes and there is evidence to suggest that they can ease stress and boost sex drive.

    walnutA 2014 study conducted by researchers at the University of California found that eating a handful of walnuts daily cut levels of the hormone IGF-1, which has been implicated in prostate and breast cancer.

    Similarly researchers at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, concluded that a diet which included a daily handful of walnuts can have a major impact on Alzheimer’s disease. They found that it reduced the risk of the disease, delayed its onset and slowed the progression.

    Source: thetimes.co.uk

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