Most of us know that high blood pressure or hypertension can lead to heart disease or stroke, but did you know that walnuts can easily help to lower your blood pressure? A new study from Penn State medical researchers found that consuming whole walnuts not only reduces blood pressure, but does better than other foods containing a similar amount of fatty acid. So, it seems, that walnuts have the upper hand when it comes to reducing hypertension.
What is hypertension? Blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. It’s normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. An elevated blood pressure is a warning signal that you need to start taking better care of your health to avoid more serious complications down the road. If your levels are high, your physician will want to recommend a treatment plan. That plan will probably include a healthy diet.
In terms of a healthy diet, walnuts are a great addition. They’re easy to snack on throughout the day and won’t break the bank.
You may be asking why walnuts? Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 fat and contain alpha linoleic acid, which positively affects blood pressure. According to recent studies, walnuts help lower blood pressure in people at risk for cardiovascular disease. One such study found that participants who ate a diet consisting of whole walnuts had lower central blood pressure than those who ate the other heart healthy diets.
The cardiovascular benefits of walnuts have included lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and apoprotein B, which is a protein linked to cardiovascular disease. Research also shows they may also help individuals at risk of developing diabetes by lowering sugar levels and improving what some call “gut health.”
Walnuts are also rich in iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin E. These vitamins are generally good for the body and offer some help when your diet is not what it should be. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, which prevent bad cholesterol. A diet high in antioxidants can even reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Antioxidants defeat free radicals attacking cells in the body and prevent or reduce the damage they may cause.
Walnuts are the world’s healthiest nut. Eating a handful of walnuts every day has shown to have a positive impact on cholesterol levels without increasing body weight. The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts a week and walnuts are said to stimulate the right insula, which is the region of the brain that regulates appetite and controls food cravings. Eating walnuts also raises the quantity of peptide YY (PYY) in the body. It’s a hormone that increases satiety and makes the stomach feel full for a longer time curbing your cravings to indulge or overeat.
In general, walnuts are a great source of nutrients and a very healthy pick me up during a hectic day. It really is a small change to your diet that can make all the difference. So, swap out your typical snack with a few walnuts to begin your journey to lower your blood pressure and be heart healthy.