Walnuts Reduce Blood Pressure
Clinical research proves that eating walnuts (Judlans regia) regularly can significantly reduce blood pressure. Walnuts can also help prevent weight gain.
Nuts’ healthy benefits
Studies show that nuts aid the heart and cardiovascular system. Nuts have been shown to improve cholesterol. Nuts have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and nuts reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Some nuts also help the body reduce weight according to clinical studies.
Most of these studies have tested mixed nuts in the diet. Often the study population will document their diet including their relative nut intake. These types of studies have shown consistently that eating a variety of nuts will benefit our health in multiple ways.
Now we find more specifically that walnuts are one of best heart-healthy nuts, as they specifically reduce blood pressure and help curb inflammation.
Two-year walnut-rich diet tested
Researchers from the University of Barcelona and Loma Linda University tested 305 people for two years. 236 people completed the study. They were aged between 63 and 79 years old.
The participants were given blood pressure tests prior to and after the end of the study period. For two years, one group ate a diet rich in walnuts, at 15 percent of energy consumption. The other group ate a similar diet, but without the walnuts.
The daily walnut amounts ranged from 30 to 60 grams a day. The average was 42.5 grams per day.
The average blood pressure was 128/79 at the beginning of the study. The walnut group saw reductions in their systolic blood pressure at an average of 4.61 mm Hg.
But those with higher blood pressure levels in the beginning had a greater benefit. They averaged a 8.5 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure.
Diastolic blood pressure also went down in the walnut group. The average drop was 1.76 mm Hg, and 5.8 mm Hg in the higher blood pressure group.
The researchers concluded:
“Walnut consumption reduces systolic BP in elderly subjects, particularly in those with mild hypertension.”
The clinicians also commented:
“Indeed, walnuts are the only nut type shown to consistently improve endothelial function in controlled trials testing nut diets for effects on vascular reactivity.”
The study also found little weight gain despite an increase in calories among the walnut group.
Walnuts help weight loss
Consistent with the above “side effect” of the walnut diet, another study of 356 people tested the walnut diet with respect to body weight.
Half the participants were given a walnut-rich diet (28 to 56 grams per day). The other half had a similar diet without the walnuts.
The researchers found that the walnut-rich diet, despite the increase in fat content and calories, resulted in a significant loss of body weight.
Why are walnuts so good for the heart?
There are a number of reasons why walnuts are so good for reducing the risk of heart disease. Walnuts contain an array of heart-healthy nutrients. These include omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which has the effect of helping to keep blood vessels supple with less plaque. Walnuts also contain phytosterols, which help reduce cholesterol.
Walnuts also contain an anti-inflammatory agent called oxylipin. They also contain ellagic acid and catechins, also anti-inflammatory agents. Walnuts also contain natural melatonin.
They also contain gamma-tocopherol, the anti-inflammatory vitamin E form that fights free radicals. Walnuts are also rich in B vitamins.
Walnuts provide a good source of protein, but they are not a complete protein. Walnuts do contain the amino acid arginine, a precursor for nitrous oxide, which helps blood flow and gives blood vessels more flexibility.
Walnuts also contain an array of minerals including copper, magnesium, potassium, manganese and calcium.
Domènech M, Serra-Mir M, Roth I, Freitas-Simoes T, Valls-Pedret C, Cofán M, López A, Sala-Vila A, Calvo C, Rajaram S, Sabaté J, Ros E. Effect of a Walnut Diet on Office and 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Elderly Individuals. Hypertension. 2019 May;73(5):1049-1057. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12766.
Bitok E, Rajaram S, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Oda K, Sala-Vila A, Serra-Mir M, Ros E, Sabaté J. Effects of Long-Term Walnut Supplementation on Body Weight in Free-Living Elderly: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Sep 18;10(9). pii: E1317. doi: 10.3390/nu10091317.