Women who make walnuts a regular part of their diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a lengthy study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health.
The research team followed two large groups of women over many years: the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) stretched from 1998 to 2008 and involved 58,063 women aged between 52 and 77; and the NHS II tracked 79,893 women aged 35 to 52 and lasted from 1999 to 2009. All participants entered the studies free from diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer. The researchers established that a weekly consumption of two or more walnut servings (one serving being equal to 28g) lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21%, before adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and by 15% after BMI adjustment. The findings of the studies were published on the website of the Journal of Nutrition.
According to data provided by the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people suffering from diabetes is expected to increase from 366 million in 2011 to about 552 million in 2030. The key weapons against this epidemic are modifications in diet and lifestyle. Recent studies have produced evidence showing that developing type 2 diabetes is linked not so much to total fat consumption but to the type of fat consumed. Research suggests that the risk may be reduced through a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Due to their high PUFA content, walnuts may exert a favourable influence on insulin resistance and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.