London: They are known to be effective in reducing cholesterol, now a new research has found walnuts may also help your body cope with stress and cut blood pressure.
Researchers at the Penn State university in the US found
that people with high levels of bad cholesterol had lower
blood pressure in stressful situations when they had been on a
diet rich in walnuts for three weeks.
"This is the first study to show that walnuts reduce
blood pressure during stress," said Professor Sheila West who
led the study.
"People who show an exaggerated biological response to
stress are at higher risk of heart disease," Prof West was
quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
For the study, the researchers recruited 22 participants
who were asked to give a three-minute speech or immerse one
foot in cold water -- both of which are triggers for stress.
But it`s found that those with walnuts in their diets had
lower blood pressure, said Prof West.
The researchers used three diets -- one without nuts, one
with walnuts and walnut oil and a third with walnuts and
Adding flax oil did not affect blood pressure, but did
help create an anti-inflammatory effect in arteries. This
could reduce the risk of heart disease, the researchers said.
After each diet, the subjects were asked to take the
speech and cold-water stress tests. Average diastolic blood
pressure -- the `bottom number` or the pressure in the
arteries when the heart is resting -- was significantly
reduced for those on diets containing walnuts and walnut oil.
Professor West, whose research was published in the
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, added: "These
results are in agreement with several recent studies showing
that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
"This work suggests that blood pressure is also
reduced when a person is exposed to stress in their daily
Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts are known to help
reduce low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, and so
lower the risk of heart disease.