Eating Walnuts for lowering Blood Pressure
A new study suggests that eating walnuts might help people at risk of cardiovascular disease to lower their blood pressure — that is, if they consume them as part of a diet low in saturated fats.
Can eating walnuts reduce cardiovascular risk?
The scientists, at Pennsylvania State University in State College, explain that their study is one of the first to investigate how the properties of walnuts may affect heart health.
The results of the research, which the California Walnut Commission part funded, now appear in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Walnuts contain a plant-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which scientists believe has beneficial effects on blood pressure. The researchers wanted to find out if the ALA content of walnuts contributes to improvements in heart health or if some other components of walnuts, such as polyphenols, might help control blood pressure among people at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walnuts linked with lower blood pressure
The team assessed all the participants for cardiovascular risk factors at the end of each diet period. From these data, the researchers found that the heart health of participants from all three groups improved to some extent.
They say that this finding indicates that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, be it from walnuts or vegetable oils, should lead to cardiovascular benefits.
However, the researchers also found that the participants who ate the whole walnut diet had lower central blood pressure than those who ate the other diets.
Central blood pressure is the pressure moving toward the heart, and scientists consider it to be a reliable indicator of a person’s cardiovascular risk.
“When participants ate whole walnuts, they saw greater benefits than when they consumed a diet with a similar fatty acid profile as walnuts without eating the nut itself,” explains lead study author Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton, at Pennsylvania State University.
“So it seems like there is a litter something extra in walnuts that is beneficial – may be their bioactive compounds, may be the fiber, may be something else –that you do not get in the fatty acids alone.
Reference – www.medicalnewstoday