(NaturalNews) Nuts in general are a great whole food packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fats and other important nutrients that the body needs to maintain good health. And a new study out of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) further confirms this, having found that walnuts -- and walnut oil in particular -- help to reduce blood pressure, decrease stress and improve cardiovascular health.
Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which are known to help lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and prevent chronic diseases from developing within the body. So researchers sought out to see how walnuts fare in dealing specifically with hypertension.
For the study, the team monitored 22 healthy adults with elevated LDL cholesterol levels over the course of a six-week dieting period to see how food affected their blood pressure. They observed that patients who consumed walnuts and walnut oil throughout the study had lower resting blood pressure levels and lower blood pressure responses to stress.
"This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress," said Sheila G. West, associate professor of biobehavioral health at PSU and author of the study. "This is important because we can't avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress."
Additionally, researchers found that adding flax oil to patients' diets improved artery dilation and vascular health. Together, walnut and flax oils exhibited a significant anti-inflammatory effect as well, reducing both c-reactive protein levels and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.