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Breaking News: Eating These May Help You Live Longer

By Tamara Palmer
August 25, 2021
Photo Credit: Studio Firma

Studies that link foods to a shortened life expectancy tend to grab all of the biggest headlines. But it’s exciting to know that not everything is doom and gloom. There are some emerging studies that suggest certain foods can lead to a longer life. The latest we’ve come across relates to one of our favorite nuts: It turns out walnuts may have even more superpowers than we thought.

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts have previously been linked with reduced inflammation, improved heart health and gut health, and slowed cognitive decline. Now, a study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and funded by the California Walnut Commission associates eating walnuts with a greater life expectancy.

New Study Connects Walnuts and Longevity

The study uses data from nearly 100,000 men and women who participated in one of two 20-year long health studies. More specifically, the study included 67,014 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 26,326 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

The findings? Walnut consumption and longevity for elder men and women show a positive correlation. The study found that women age 60 or older who consumed at least one serving of walnuts over five times a week lived 1.3 years longer than those who didn’t eat walnuts. Similarly aged, walnut-eating men gained 1.26 years.

Authors acknowledged that this new study has some limitations. For example, participants self-reported walnut consumption. On the other hand, the length of the two studies is definitely a strength.

vegan taco meat

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

3 Ways to Eat More Walnuts

Walnuts are more versatile than you may think, and there are lots of ways to add them to your diet besides just eating them by the handful. Here are some ideas.

1. Add them to quick breads.

Nuts are always a welcome addition in quick breads like banana bread or zucchini bread. Fold a half cup of walnut halves or pieces into the batter just before baking.

2. Use them as a meat substitute.

Did you know that you can turn nuts into vegan taco meat? Now you do.

3. Make pesto.

Pine nuts may be the traditional nut of choice for pesto, but walnuts work just as well. To get the most flavor, toast them before whizzing with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan.

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