Adding baru nuts to the diet may help improve levels of HDL cholesterol and reduce waist sizes in overweight and obese women, says a new study from Brazil.
Data published in Nutrition also indicated that consuming a baru nut-enriched diet for eight weeks led to significant reductions in cholesteryl ester transfer protein expression (CETP), a marker of lipid metabolism.
“Our study is the first to investigate the effects of baru [nuts] on body composition and markers of lipid metabolism among women who were overweight or obese in a controlled diet and exercise setting,” wrote researchers from Goiás Federal University and the University of São Paulo.
“In this study, we showed that the consumption of 20 g of baru [nuts]as part of a normocaloric diet was effective in reducing waist circumference, CETP, and improving HDL levels in overweight and obese women.”
As reported recently by FoodNavigator-LATAM, interest in baru nuts is slowly increasing outside of Brazil. The nuts contain high levels of fiber, protein, vitamin E and calcium. A 2016 study by to Dr. Simone Favaro at Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research institute, reported that baru nut protein isolates presented more protein than those from soybean, casein, and albumin, “proving to be a very promising source of protein, which can be used in oily food preparations”.
Baru nuts are also a source of “healthy fats”, including linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3) with a 13:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3. For comparison, in Brazil nuts and almonds, this ratio is 232:1 and 129:1, respectively.
For the new study, the researchers recruited 46 overweight and obese women to participate in their eight week randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. The women were randomly assigned to consume a baru nut-enriched diet or baru nut-free diet. Both diets contained the same amount of calories.
Results showed that the baru nut group experienced significant reductions in waist circumference (an average decrease of 2.45 cm), and CETP levels (an average decrease of 0.23 mcg/ml, compared to the control diet.
In addition, baru nut consumption was associated with a 4.8 mg/dL increase in HDL concentrations, compared to the control diet.
“Given the positive results presented here, we can conclude that, even in smaller portions, the consumption of baru [nuts] produces some benefits,” they wrote.
“Baru [nut]-enriched diet for 8 weeks reduced abdominal adiposity and improved HDL as well as markers of lipid metabolism in overweight and obese women.”