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Have a handful of walnuts:

Harvard School of Public Health research establishes relationship between eating walnuts & a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.
By Motherpedia
Date: March 05 2013
Editor Rating:

Hot on the heels of new Dietary Guidelines for Australia which, amongst other things, urge us to eat more nuts, new research from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests there is a relationship between walnut consumption and a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The research study, which was published in the Journal of Nutrition, followed 58,000 women aged 52-77 years and almost 80,000 women aged 35-52 years in a ten year study. The women had no indication of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer.

The study found that with two or more servings of walnuts per week, the reduction in incidence of type 2 diabetes was 21% for the older age group and 15% for the younger age group. A serving is equivalent to 28 grams.

Diabetes is estimated to affect 366 million people worldwide, and the numbers are expected to rise to approximately 552 million globally by 2030. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that approximately 787,500 Australians have type 2 diabetes, of whom 44% are women.

Diet and lifestyle modifications are key components in type 2 diabetes, and recent evidence suggests that the type of fat rather than total fat intake plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. This has been recognised in the Australian Dietary Guidelines issued last monthSpecifically, a higher level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found significantly in walnuts, has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Compared with other nuts, which generally contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats, walnuts are unique because they are rich in PUFAs which may favourably influence insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes.

"Observational studies can't prove cause and effect, but when associations are seen in large populations, and occur in a well established context, cause and effect may reliably be inferred," said Dr David Katz of Yale Prevention Research Centre.

"The findings here are robust, and remarkable. They strongly indicate the importance of consuming whole foods, such as walnuts, in the fight against diabetes."

You can enjoy walnuts in so many ways, other than just as a snack. Try this very simple, quick, nutritious recipe from nutritionist Sarah Copeland which can be an accompaniment to a meat or fish dish or great on its own. 

Shaved zucchini with ricotta and walnuts

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

1 large, firm zucchini

Juice of ½ lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup/60 ml sheep’s milk ricotta or ricotta

½ cup/55 g toasted walnuts, broken in pieces

Lemon zest for garnish (optional)

1.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel your zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strips. Toss in a medium bowl with the lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

2.  Transfer to a serving bowl and dollop the ricotta over the top. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

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