The research funded by California Walnut Commission propelled scientists at Pennsylvania State University to examine the beneficial properties of walnuts. The results clearly showed that plant-based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in walnuts can greatly benefit the cardiovascular system.
The most deadly illness in the U.S, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), is the cardiovascular disease, which took 840,000 lives in 2016 only. California Walnut Commission in association with Pennsylvania State University was willing to examine the influence of alpha-linolenic acid on patients suffering from obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Walnuts Promote Heart Health and Help Lower Blood Pressure
The cooperation between two institutions focused on Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), more commonly known as Omega-3. The general scientific research shows that walnuts have significantly higher levels of Omega-3 fat than other nuts, thus, providing 2.5 grams per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
The benefits of the compound propelled the scientists to conduct a test. Forty-five participants aged between 30 and 65 were divided into three different groups. Before the test, all of the participants were put on a pre-diet which had them take in the same amounts of saturated fats. So, each group was on the same starting plane and received an adequate diet. According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate ALA intake for men is 1.6, and for women, it’s 1.1 grams per day.
The first group was given a walnut diet, and the second group did not have walnuts in their diet but had an equal intake of ALA and polyunsaturated acids. The third group’s diet did not include any walnuts but substituted the ALA with oleic acid.
Each group showed a certain level of health improvement, especially in the cardiovascular system. The results point that daily intake of unsaturated acids and fibers lowers blood pressure. Central blood pressure is widely accepted as an indicator of potential heart disease. The groups subjected to the research of Pennsylvania State University had lower central blood pressures by the end of the project.
Observational scientific studies have shown that each gram of ALA you eat per day lowers heart disease risks by 10%. Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton from Pennsylvania State University stated that the combination of fibers and bioactive compounds in walnuts makes them a power food for the heart.
However, a group of 45 people may be a small one to prove the theory that walnuts do benefit the heart in general. Even so, the progress made by this research is still uncovering the many ways in which walnut’s fiber and plant compounds, including polyphenols, may interact with the human body and contribute to general health.