Might eating walnuts lower blood pressure?

Many people avoid eating nuts because they fear their calories, once again highlighting how inadequate a calorie as a measure has become in evaluating food. Now a study suggesting that eating walnuts might help people at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) to lower their blood pressure, if they consume them as part of a diet low in saturated fats, helps make this point.

The research, in part funded by the California Walnut Commission, examined whether the plant-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content of walnuts contributes to improvements in heart health or if some other components, such as polyphenols, might help control blood pressure among people at risk of CVD. In a controlled experiment the researchers found that the participants who ate a diet including whole walnuts had lower central blood pressure than those who ate the other diets with a similar beneficial fatty acid profile as walnuts.

The walnuts made the difference, and while the researchers really don’t know precisely why, yet again as with so many real foods, it seems there is much more to be discovered about their health benefits than we can currently analyse. Good reason to create as much variety in your real food diet as possible!

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