Penn State Study Shows Walnuts Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

A study released by Penn State explains the benefits of walnuts in lowering blood pressure, which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease as a result. Participants who were part of the study lived on a low saturated diet and included walnuts in their daily consumption. The results showed that the participants had generally lower blood pressure than those that didn’t add walnuts into their diet.

Central pressure that is exerted on the organs of the heart can provide a significant amount of risk in developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State, explained that walnuts lowers central pressure and decreases the risk of heart disease in the participants of the study.

It was postulated that the plant-based omega-3 component, alpha-inolenic acid (ALA), in walnuts contributed to the beneficial effects in lowering blood pressure. It was also possible that the fibers or other bioactive components were major contributors to these positive health effects as well.

Forty-five participants between the ages of 30 and 65 were recruited for the research, each of them having been classified as overweight or obese. The study involved them going on a “run-in” diet for two weeks that replaced walnuts as part of the 12 percent of calories that they get from saturated fats.

Afterwards, they were given three random study diets that included less saturated fat than their initial diet. These diets had one that used whole walnuts, another with ALA and polyunsaturated fatty acids without walnuts, and a diet that used other types of fatty acids without walnuts.

The results saw a positive change in the participants’ cardiovascular health and noted lowered overall blood pressure, cholesterol, and arterial stiffness. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and stated that people should start replacing saturated fat in their diet with better, healthier options.

About Penn State University

Penn State University (formally known as Pennsylvania State University) was founded in 1855 and conducts extensive educational courses, research, and public service. It is composed of various campuses across the state included its University Park main campus, two law schools, a College of Medicine, as well as 19 other commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses.

It is considered as one of the Public Ivies universities, which is a public university that is on the level of educational institutions that are part of the Ivy League.

(via Penn State)

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