A team of researchers from the University of Wollongong, School of Medicine in Australia wanted to evaluate the effect of personalized dietary advice and a food supplement of 30 grams of walnuts each day on blood pressure in the intensive phase of a weight-loss trial.
In the study, 377 participants were randomly divided into three dietary groups: general dietary advice or the control group, individualized advice, or intervention group supplemented with 30 grams of walnuts per day. The research team analyzed their dietary intake through self-reported diet history interviews conducted by accredited practicing dietitians. They also used urinary sodium and potassium excretion as biomarkers for estimation of dietary sodium and potassium intake.
Results revealed that after three months, participants in all three groups lost weight significantly. However, the systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure reductions were greatest in the participants who were given personalized dietary advice together with a daily supplement of walnuts.
“Dietary patterns, key foods such as nuts and dietary levels of nutrients such as sodium and potassium can all affect BP [blood pressure], but these effects are also inter-related,” the researchers wrote. “The present analysis showed that individualized dietary advice, strengthened by a daily supplement of a healthy food, 30 grams walnuts, resulted in greater decrease in urinary Na:K [sodium-to-potassium] ratio, a parameter associated with lower BP.”
Other health benefits of walnuts
Walnuts, the fruits of the walnut tree, are described as wrinkly, globe-like nuts that grow in a hard shell, which when opened reveals the walnut. Then, this is divided in two — which is why they are often seen as flat segments. Walnuts are typically eaten raw or roasted.
Similar to all nuts, walnuts contain good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In addition, they are a good source of the essential fatty acid omega-3. They are also good sources of iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E, and several B vitamins. Eating these nuts is beneficial for your health. Here are some of the health benefits walnuts can provide:
- Support the brain – Walnuts are rich in phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fats which both offer potential benefits for both brain health and brain function. The omega-3 fatty acids that walnuts contain help reduce oxidative stress in the brain, as well as help enhance brain signaling and neurogenesis – which is the creation of nerve cells. Other essential nutrients found in walnuts such as vitamin E, folate, and ellagic acid also contribute to neuroprotection and memory function.
- Enhance mood – Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts are essential in the development and function of the central nervous system. This type of fats also plays a role in certain mood disorders, according to research and clinical evidence.
- Keep the heart healthy – According to The Journal of Nutrition, eating walnuts may cut the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, walnut oil offers more favorable benefits to endothelial function, which is the lining of the inside of the blood and lymphatic vessels. A study by the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that those who ate nuts more than four times a week had 37 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.
- Aid in weight loss – Some evidence shows that eating walnuts as replacements for other foods does not cause weight gain even though they are rich in energy. This makes walnuts great snack alternative for people who are trying to manage their weight.
- Help the digestive system – Eating walnuts can enrich the microbiome and increase good bacteria strains, according to an animal study. This could provide benefits to humans with more studies. (Results: Eating walnuts found to protect the colon from cancerous tumors.)
Read more news stories and studies on the circulatory system by going to Heart.news.