Picture this. You walk into your doctor’s office with rising blood pressure. Plus, you need to drop a few pounds.
You expect the worst… a lecture, an extreme (not to mention tasteless) diet, and sickening drugs.
But instead, a half an hour later you stroll back out with a smile on your face. And in your hand is a prescription for… WALNUTS.
Sounds wacky, right?
But new research finds this “walnut prescription” could be the key to sending your risk for heart disease plummeting.
Heart disease risk a worry? Try walnuts
Now if you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, you ALREADY know I’ve been recommending nuts for heart health for YEARS.
Research has linked this tasty treat to better blood pressure.
But it turns out walnuts, in particular, could be a Godsend for folks who are ALREADY at a higher risk for heart disease.
And if that’s you, it could slash YOUR blood pressure and send YOUR risk for heart disease plummeting right along with it.
Better blood pressure & cholesterol with walnuts
For the study, Penn State researchers recruited 45 overweight or obese volunteers between the ages of 30 and 65.
Everyone ate the exact same meals for two weeks. Scientists call this a “run in” diet. It helps level the playing field so that everyone in a study has a similar starting point.
Then volunteers were randomly placed on one of three diets…
- One: Some saturated fats were replaced with whole walnuts
- Two: Some saturated fats were replaced with the same amount of ALA and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the nuts, without the actual nuts
- Three: Some oleic fatty acid was replaced with the same amount of ALA found in walnuts, without the nuts
As expected, all three diets led to measurable heart benefits including improved cholesterol and blood pressure.
But the leader of the pack, by far, was the one which included the WHOLE walnuts.
And when it came to CENTRAL blood pressure walnuts really knocked it out of the park.
Reduce YOUR heart disease risk without drugs
Typically, when you have your blood pressure measured it’s done with a cuff on your arm. This is a brachial reading, which measures the pressure as blood moves away from your heart.
It’s the easiest way to take blood pressure, but it’s not as accurate as a central reading. And it doesn’t do as good a job at predicting things like heart disease or stroke.
But the volunteers ALSO had central blood pressure readings. These are taken using a catheter that’s inserted into the aorta. They measure the pressure of your blood as it moves into the heart.
The walnut diet significantly reduced central blood pressure readings. A clear sign that heart disease risk dropped too.
To mimic the same results at home simply swap out some of the saturated fat in your diet for walnuts and other sources of healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil. Aim for around a five percent swap to reduce your heart risk.
It’s a tasty prescription that I think we ALL can get behind.