3 Reasons to Up Your Omega-3 this National Heart Month and Beyond

With around 7.4 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases[1], looking after your heart health is a must.

The good news however is that this doesn’t have to be difficult. Simple lifestyle changes such as changing your diet can have a big impact on heart health.

Omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is essential to heart health. Our bodies cannot make it, so it is important to ensure we eat foods that contain ALA for good health and normal growth and development.

As walnuts are the only tree nut to contain a significant amount of omega-3 ALA, with 2.7g in every handful*, adding these to meals or enjoying them as a snack is a great place to start. One portion of walnuts also contains fibre (1.4g/30g serving)[2] and ‘good’ polyunsaturated fats – making them a heart health powerhouse!

So, enjoy a handful of California Walnuts a day to reap the three heart health benefits below – it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Good Gut Health

 A recent clinical trial revealed that there may be a connection between heart and gut health, aided by consumption of walnuts[3]. Findings from this new study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, show that consuming walnuts enriches certain gut bacteria in the digestive system associated with improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers believe this could be due to the unique combination of bioactive compounds, fatty acids and dietary fibre found in walnuts.2 So when you enjoy a handful of walnuts, you could be benefiting your gut and your heart.

Normal Blood Cholesterol Levels

The EU has confirmed via a health claim that walnuts are rich in omega-3 ALA, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.[4] California Walnuts have also received the heart-healthy seal of approval from the cholesterol charity, Heart UK. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

Heart Disease

 Research has also shown ALA to have a beneficial role in the prevention of heart disease[5], which is responsible for 26% of all deaths in the UK[6].

*Approx. 30g

 

Reference:

[1] BHF statistics Factsheet UK, December 2019
[2] Food Standards Agency (2002), McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Seventh summary edition. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry
[3] https://academic.oup.com/jn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jn/nxz289/5680186?searchresult=1
[4] EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to walnuts and maintenance of normal blood LDL‐cholesterol concentrations (ID 1156, 1158) and improvement of endothelium‐dependent vasodilation (ID 1155, 1157) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2011; 9( 4):2074. [19 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2074.
[5] https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1252; https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2074
[6] HEART UK State of the Nation: Cardiovascular Disease, October 2018