Researchers at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health Department of Nutrition are seeking elderly participants for a study on walnuts and aging.
Consuming walnuts can decrease the risk of heart disease, according to previous research by Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition.
Sabaté is principal investigator of the new study, "Walnuts and Healthy Aging," university spokeswoman Briana Pastorino said in a statement Monday.
"Because the effects nuts have on aging is unknown, my research team and I will attempt to determine if walnuts help in healthy aging," Sabaté said in the statement. "We will study memory, eye health, nutritional status, inflammation and coronary risk factors."
Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids - the good fats that help our body - along with other nutrients, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds, Sabaté said.
"It seems logical that the mixture found in walnuts may be beneficial for aging," he said.
Sabaté and his research team are looking for active men and women between the ages of 65 and 75, Pastorino said.
"Participants must be fluent in English, healthy and free of uncontrolled chronic diseases," Pastorino said. "They must also be able to come to Loma Linda University every two months for a 30-minute visit with the study dietician. Those who are chosen to be a part of the study will receive free individualized health assessments over the course of the study."
Participants will be assigned at random to 1) a group that will eat walnuts every day, or 2) a group that will refrain from eating walnuts for two years, Pastorino said.
"Study members will continue to eat their normal diet," Pastorino said. "Memory and psychology tests as well as eye examinations will be conducted at the start of the two-year study. Visits with a dietician for diet counsel and for height and weight measurements will be done every two months."
The study began in September 2012 and researchers will continue recruiting participants through winter 2013, Pastorino said.
Anyone interested in participating can call 1-811-LLUMC4U (558-6248). More information is online at www.WAHAstudy.org.