When Tony Soprano's loyal enforcer Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri did a job for his boss, you could bet someone's health was going to take a turn for the worse.
But in real life, there's nothing about walnuts that threatens your well-being. In fact, according to a new Harvard study, eating walnuts a few times a week can help you live longer and healthier.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients, looked at data on 100,000 people, average age 63, and found that compared with those who never eat walnuts, people who enjoyed 5 ounces or more weekly appeared to lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 25% , and extend their life by an average of one and a half years.
Eating 2 to 4 ounces weekly may reduce the risk by 14%, and you'll add around one year to your life.
And for folks with the poorest level of nutrition, eating a half an ounce of walnuts a day cuts their risk of cardiovascular disease by 26%.
What's in walnuts that makes you live longer? It's probably the blend of healthy fats and nutrients. One ounce contains 4 grams of protein; 2 grams fiber; 45 mg of magnesium; and 2.5 mg of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which promotes absorption of nutrients, fights inflammation, lowers LDL cholesterol, and stabilizes glucose levels.
So enjoy walnuts, but don't make the mistake of thinking they'll make up for a saturated-fat dense, ultra-processed diet. Their real power shines through when they're part of a plant-based diet free of red meats, added sugars, and refined carbs.