New Zealand


Walnuts: a nutritional gem

An index of useful words

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Antithrombotic –a compound that reduces the chance of blood clotting, blood tends to clot on the rough walls of atheromatous vessels and thus sometimes block them enough to cause a heart attach or stroke

Atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries)– a disease where fat containing material, which includes cholesterol, accumulates on the inner walls of the arteries.

Atheromatous (plaque) – Fatty material, mostly cholesterol covered with fibrous connective material embedded in the artery walls.

Antiarrhymic – A compound that stops the heart developing an irregular rhythm, lack of oxygen ti the heart because of atheroma (fatty deposits) is the coronary arteries is one of the causes.

Vasodilator – a compound that widens the blood vessels (a good thing if the vessels are beginning to become blocked with fatty plaques).

Prospective studies (Prospective cohort study) – A group of people are studied right from when they start an intervention (a new drug a change of diet etc) and their body parameters are monitored at intervals and the results are compared to a control group of people who carry on as normal.

Myocardial infarction –(heart attack) – blood flow to part of the heart muscle is cut off by a fatty plaque and that area of heart muscle dies.

Epidemiological study – is a study of a population rather than an individual, usually to study illnesses or accidents, fatalities or the risks and benefits of treatment.

Cross-sectional survey – this is a study that looks at a population having an intervention and looks at how many have benefited or are adversely affected compared with a group not involved with the intervention.

Tocopherols (vitamin E) – vitamin E is in fact a group of compounds called tocopherols different amounts of these are found in different foods.  Walnuts contain high levels of -tocopherol while hazel nuts contain high levels of -tocopherol

Sterols - these are compounds made by plants, sitosterol is the one most commonly found in foods.  Sterols prevent cholesterol from being absorbed, this is a good feature.

Monounsaturated fatty acids – These are fatty acids that contain only one double bond, the best known is oleic acid (18:1) which is found in high levels in olive oil.  Monounsaturated fatty acids are good thing to have in the diet.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids – These contain usually two or three double bonds in their structure.  They are good to have in foods but the presence of these extra double bonds make the food more unstable and less likely to store well for a long period of time. Linolenic (18:2) and Linolenic (18:3) are the most common polyunsaturated fatty acids.

LDL (Low density lipoproteins) - are lipoprotein fractions in the blood used to transport fats around the body- lowering the LDL fraction is a good objective).  

Walnut (NZ grown) - a high quality nut with an excellent taste, which should only be sold to discerning people.