Posted on Oct 18, 2010, 6 a.m.
Rich in polyunsaturated fats, walnuts and walnut oil may help the body to better respond during times of stress.
Omega-3 fatty acids – such as alpha linolenic acid found in walnuts –are a type of polyunsaturated fat that may help to reduce the body’s biological responses to stress. Sheila G. West, from Penn State University (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues studied 22 healthy adults with elevated LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, supplying each subject with meal and snack foods during three diet periods of six weeks each. The three diet periods consisted of: first diet as an "average" American diet – a diet without nuts that reflects what the typical person in the U.S. consumes each day; the second diet included 1.3 ounces of walnuts and a tablespoon of walnut oil substituted for some of the fat and protein in the average American diet; and the third diet was comprised of walnuts, walnut oil and 1.5 tablespoons of flaxseed oil. The researchers found that including walnuts and walnut oil in the diet lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory. Results also showed that average diastolic blood pressure was significantly reduced during the diets containing walnuts and walnut oil. The team observes that: "This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress. This is important because we can't avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress."
“Walnuts, walnut oil improve reaction to stress.” Penn State University, Oct. 4, 2010.