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Walnuts Can Reduce Blood Presure Response to Stress

Posted Nov 02 2010 12:00am

A new study shows that regularly eating a handful of walnuts can affect the blood pressure response to stress. It is known that people who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk for heart disease. The purpose of the study was to determine if omega 3-fatty acids from plant sources would blunt cardiovascular responses to stress. The result was that including walnuts and walnut oil in the diet for 6 weeks lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress by two to three points.

Walnuts are known to be a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid.  Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid, which the researchers say could explain the beneficial effects on blood pressure. In the study, participants were eating nuts and oils in place of other foods, the walnut diets were not higher in calories so no weight gain was seen.

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