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Walnut consumption and cardiac phenotypes: the coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) study.  

Steffen, L.M., S.Y. Yi, D. Duprez, X. Zhou, J.M. Shikany, D.R. Jacobs Jr., 2020. Walnut consumption and cardiac phenotypes: the coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) study.  Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. S0939-4753(20)30381-1. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2020.09.001.  

Background and Aims: Observational studies and clinical trials have shown cardiovascular benefits of nut consumption, including walnuts. However, the relations of walnut consumption with systolic and diastolic function, risk factors for heart failure, are unknown.  We examined the associations of walnut consumption with cardiac structure and function parameters in black and white adults enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Methods and Results: After exclusions, the study population included 3,341 participants. Dietary intake was assessed using the CARDIA Diet History questionnaire at baseline, year 7 and year 20 exams.  Cardiac structure and function were measured by echocardiography at year 25. Multivariable linear regression evaluated the associations of walnut consumption with blood pressure (BP), heart rate, and cardiac phenotypes, adjusting for age, sex, race, lifestyle habits, and clinical characteristics. We found the majority of walnut consumers compared to non-consumers were females, whites, and more highly educated, and had lower waist circumference, diastolic BP, and heart rate, and higher diet quality score. Even though cardiac structure and function measures were generally within normal ranges among participants, walnut consumers had significantly better values for diastolic function parameters A wave, E/A ratio, septal and lateral e’ than non-consumers. Further adjustment for body mass index and diabetes status did not materially change the significance between walnut consumer groups. Systolic function parameters did not differ by walnut group.  Conclusion: Compared to non-consumers, walnut consumption is associated with better diastolic dysfunction in young to middle-aged adults.