Eat a handful of walnuts a day to lower blood pressure, study suggests

Eating a handful of walnuts a day could lower blood pressure, reduce weight gain and in turn reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of Minnesota discovered the possible miraculous benefits of nuts after monitoring the diet of 3,300 people for more than 25 years and giving them various health checks.

Walnuts are the only nuts that contain Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which scientists say could explain the benefits. The fatty acid has previously been linked to improved heart health. They say, however, that more studies are needed to confirm the findings.

Previous research has linked walnuts to blood pressure and suggested they prevent diabetes and heart disease. However, these results have not yet been supported by a rigorous clinical trial.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota suggested that walnuts lower blood pressure because they contain Omega-3 (stock image)

Scientists at the University of Minnesota suggested that walnuts lower blood pressure because they contain Omega-3 (stock image)

In the study, published Wednesday in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, scientists analyzed data from 3,341 Americans over the age of 45.

The participants had participated in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study conducted by the University of Alabama between 1985 and 2015.

They were initially interviewed about their diets and followed up at years seven, 20 and 25 of the study.

What is high blood pressure? What are the risks?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if left untreated, it increases the risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to check your blood pressure.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. Systolic pressure (top number) is how hard the heart pumps blood around the body.

Diastolic pressure (lowest number) is the resistance to blood flow in the blood vessels. Both are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

If blood pressure is too high, it constricts blood vessels, the heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.

Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and life-threatening conditions, including:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • heart attack
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • aortic aneurysms
  • kidney disease
  • vascular dementia

Of those involved, the 340 who ate walnuts consumed about 0.6 ounces (19 grams) a day on average, the equivalent of seven walnuts.

These people were more likely to be female, white, and highly educated.

At year 20, they were invited back for a health check where their BMI was measured, along with their activity levels and blood pressure.

The results showed that those in the group who ate nuts had lower blood pressure than those who did not eat the nuts.

Blood pressure measurements are shown as two numbers, such as systolic pressure, or pressure on the walls of the arteries when the heart beats, and diastolic pressure, or pressure on the walls of the arteries between beats.

Among those who did not eat nuts, their blood pressure score was 117.2/73.6 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

But for those who ate the nuts it was 116 / 71 mmHg.

Diastolic blood pressure, or the second number, was significantly lower in people who ate walnuts, the scientists said.

But neither number was in the unhealthy range, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is higher than 120/80 mmHg.

About 20 percent of walnut eaters in the study had high blood pressure, compared with 22 percent of those who didn’t eat them.

The scientists also suggested that walnuts led to lower weight gain and a higher quality diet.

They found that those who didn’t eat nuts had a BMI of 29.7, which put them at the upper end of the overweight range, and 39 percent were obese.

But among those with nuts the BMI was barely below 29, while 35 percent were obese.

Those who ate the nuts also had a higher activity score on the paper than those who did not.

The scientists also claimed that those who ate nuts had significantly lower fasting glucose levels, a better heart disease risk profile and a higher quality diet.

So-Yun Yi, a doctoral student in public health at the university who participated in the research, said the study supported claims that walnuts are “part of a healthy diet.”

“Interestingly, walnut consumers had a better profile of cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as a lower body mass index … compared to other walnut consumers,” they said.

Scientists said walnuts could help the heart because they are the only nut that has Omega-3, which has been linked to heart benefits.

They also contain a variety of other nutrients, including protein, fiber and magnesium, which can also support heart health.

But the researchers added that their results were observational and that clinical trials would need to be conducted to confirm the results.

It wasn’t clear whether other nuts had an impact because those who ate nuts tended to eat more nuts overall, compared to those who didn’t.

Leave a Reply