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Blood cholesterol and walnut consumption: a cross-sectional survey in France.

Lavedrine, F., D. Zmirou, A. Ravel, F. Balducci, J. Alary, 1999.  Blood cholesterol and walnut consumption: a cross-sectional survey in France. Prev Med. 28(4):333-9.

BACKGROUND: The preventive role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease has been recognized. We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the association between walnut consumption (oil and kernel) as a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and blood lipid levels. METHODS: Seven hundred ninety-three persons, males and females, ages 18-65 years, living in a walnut production area (Dauphiný, France) attended health screening visits organized by the Agriculture Social Security. Past diet (1-year recall, including walnut and animal fat consumption) and cardiovascular risk factors were ascertained using food frequency questionnaires. For each participant a blood sample was taken to measure HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol; apo A1; and apo B. RESULTS: A high level of HDL cholesterol and apo A1 was associated with a high amount of walnut consumption (oil and kernel) in the regular diet, with a positive trend with increasing degree of walnut consumption. This association did not appear to be confounded by dietary animal fat and alcohol as measured in this study. Other blood lipids did not show significant associations with walnut consumption. CONCLUSION: The positive effect of walnut consumption on blood HDL cholesterol and apo A1 is of special interest since these lipid parameters have been shown to be negatively correlated with cardiovascular morbidity.