Walnuts For Lower Blood Pressure
These findings come from a Penn State study of the effects of adding walnuts to the diet of people at risk of cardiovascular disease. The 45 participants were 30 to 65 years old and overweight or obese. The idea was to see if the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in walnuts (or something else they contain) is responsible for their heart healthy benefits. Results showed that participates who ate shelled, whole walnuts daily for six weeks had lower central blood pressure, which is a measurement of the blood pressure exerted on organs, including the heart, that provides information about the risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants were assigned to one of three diets all low in saturated fat. One included whole walnuts, another the same amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in walnuts and polyunsaturated fatty acid but no walnuts, and a third with oleic acid substituted for the amount of ALA in walnuts. Participants who ate whole walnuts realized greater benefits. Study leader Penny Kris-Etherton added that “it seems like there’s a little something extra in walnuts that are beneficial – maybe their bioactive compounds, maybe the fiber, maybe something else – that you don’t get in the fatty acids alone.”
My take? We’ve known that walnuts are heart healthy for some time. The evidence that eating whole walnuts turned out to be more heart healthy than simply consuming their nutritional components is welcome news for those of us who enjoy these nuts. Future research may identify the constituents that make them so beneficial. In the meantime, the trick is to enjoy them without eating too many. I usually eat a handful a day.
Penny M. Kris‐Etherton. “Replacing Saturated Fat With Walnuts or Vegetable Oils Improves Central Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled‐Feeding Trial”, Journal of the American Heart Association, 2019; 8 (9) DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.118.011512
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Second Hand Smoke Threat
- Skipping Easier On Knees Than Running
- This Week’s Recipe: Tofu With Cilantro Sauce