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It isn’t uncommon to walk through the aisles of a grocery store and see a plethora of vibrant packaging screaming things like “low fat” or “sugar free.” The word “superfood” is often used, a term coined by the marketing world to refer to foods that have benefits for our health. Walnuts are often labeled as one of these superfoods, but what really is the appeal of walnuts for our health?

A multitude of studies suggest that walnuts aid in some of the numerous processes of our body. Many vegetarians and vegans choose to saturate their diet with nuts in order to gain a sufficient amount of protein, but it seems that the benefits of walnuts go beyond just additional protein.

More specifically, walnuts have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease because they contain many antioxidants that protect cells and keep them healthy. Among other benefits, studies have also shown that walnuts may prevent breast cancer due to the plentiful amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols they contain. Phytosterols are linked to slowing the growth of breast cancer tumors.

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Walnuts are a good source of protein

Image source: Maximilian Stock Ltd.

And now, a recent study conducted at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine by  Dr. Lauri Byerley shows that walnuts may improve our health by increasing the diversity of bacteria in our gut. The study had two groups of rodents. One group’s diet included walnuts while the other group’s diet was walnut free. The results of the study showed that the rodents who consumed walnuts had an increased diversity in their gut bacteria, including, notably, an increase in Lactobacillus, which help prevent diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

What exactly are these gut bacteria? Located in our gut are trillions of bacteria that help digest food, also known as gut flora. The ways in which gut flora help us are tremendous. For example, when we consume carbohydrates, the gut flora produce enzymes that help break down carbs. Some gut flora also help synthesize vitamin B, which is essential to maintaining healthy cells.

It is evident through Dr.Byerley’s discovery that walnuts have yet another lure to consumers wanting to lead a nourishing lifestyle. Make sure to pick up some of this superfood on your next grocery store run to not only get a super tasty snack, but also some super wholesome health benefits!

Feature Image Source: : by Couleur

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