Walnuts help maintain blood pressure for those at risk of heart disease

The findings of a new study could have many consumers reaching for walnuts

The findings of a new study could have many consumers reaching for walnuts

The study was conducted by researchers at Penn State University and they observed that eating whole walnuts daily as part of a diet that was low in saturated fats, resulted in lowered central pressure in their bodies.

"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", said researcher Penny Kris-Etherton.

To help with that last one, a new study indicates there are some potential protective benefits of consuming one nutty superfood in particular-walnuts.

The researchers for this study recruited 45 overweight or obese participants between the ages of 30-65.

Each person followed each diet for six weeks. All participants were put on the same diet, with 12% of calories coming from saturated fat-typical of the standard American diet-two weeks prior to the study.

While each saturated fat substitution improved cardiovascular health, the participants who ate the walnut-substituted meals had lower blood pressure numbers. "So it seems like there's a little something extra in walnuts that is beneficial-maybe their bioactive compounds, maybe the fiber, maybe something else-that you don't get in the fatty acids alone". Experts say they're at the top of the list for the healthiest nuts out there as they contain a high amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid known to lower inflammation and boost brain and heart health.

The positive effects weren't simply due to cutting down on the amount of saturated fat dieters consumed, according to the study - saturated fats are often consumed from animal products like meat and butter, but are also found in some plant-based products, including coconut oil.

Alyssa Tindall contemporary student in Dr. Kris-Etherton's lab and a contemporary Ph.D. graduate in nutrition said that the study was the premiere in attempting to reveal which parts of walnuts assist reinforce heart health.

As per the researchers, central pressure is the pressure that is applied to organs like the heart.

During the study, participants were randomly assigned to one of three study diets, all of which included less saturated fat than the "run-in" diet. They concluded by saying, "Cardiovascular benefits occurred with all moderate-fat, high-unsaturated fat diets".