Walnuts and other nuts and seeds have been hailed as sources of healthy fats by health experts. However, there is still a perception that eating walnuts may lead to weight gain, due to higher concentrations of fats in them. Time and again, a number of studies have debunked this myth and have established the fact that eating walnuts is a healthy habit and one that may actually promote weight management. A new study has said that eating walnuts may help lower blood pressure, especially in people who are vulnerable to or at risk of cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases. The study says that walnuts in combination with a diet that is low in saturated fats or unhealthy fats from junk food, can actually help those pre-disposed to risks of heart diseases.
The study was titled, “Replacing Saturated Fat With Walnuts or Vegetable Oils Improves Central Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled-Feeding Trial” and it was published in the Journal of American Heart Association (JAHA). The study was conducted by researchers at Penn State University and they observed that eating whole walnuts daily as part of a diet that was low in saturated fats, resulted in lowered central pressure in their bodies. Central pressure is the pressure exerted on organs and it indicates risk of cardiovascular diseases in a person. The study was conducted on 45 participants suffering from obesity, within the age group of 35 to 45 years.
The participants were asked to follow a diet rich in alpha-linoleic acid, which is found in walnuts. They were divided into three separate diet groups- one with whole walnuts, one without walnuts but the same amount of ALA and a third diet which substituted walnuts and ALA with oleic acid (another fatty acid). They concluded by saying, “Cardiovascular benefits occurred with all moderate-fat, high-unsaturated fat diets. As part of a low-SFA diet, the greater improvement in central diastolic blood pressure following the WD versus the oleic acid-replaced-ALA diet indicates benefits of walnuts as a whole-food replacement for SFA.”