Did You Know That Walnuts Reduce Blood Pressure?

Including nuts in your diet is one of the healthiest eating habits that you can incorporate. In fact, did you know that walnuts reduce blood sugar? 
Did You Know That Walnuts Reduce Blood Pressure?
Anna Vilarrasa

Written and verified by the nutritionist Anna Vilarrasa.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

A little about blood pressure

High blood pressure is a health problem that affects a large number of people in the world and continues to increase. What’s more, it usually doesn’t present clear symptoms and it causes significant damage to certain organs and tissue in the body.

For those who have high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, or are simply worried about having a healthier lifestyle, it’s good to know how a good diet, healthy habits, and healthy, natural foods like walnuts can contribute to cardiovascular wellbeing.

The nutritional wealth of walnuts

Walnuts are the fruit of the walnut tree or the Juglans Regio genus. This is one of the most widespread varieties in Europe, to the southeast and center of Asia and China. In general, it’s a food that’s valued for its nutritional content and bioactive components.

These qualities give it a series of beneficial properties for our health. Among these, for example, we can mention its beneficial effect when it comes to reducing arterial pressure. In fact, walnuts reduce blood pressure.

What’s more, they’re a type of nut, a food that’s highly recognized for its ability to improve wellbeing. In fact, eating nuts has been popular for a long time, especially within the Mediterranean diet. That’s because evidence shows that they have a positive effect on cardiac and brain health.

  • Specifically, this variety of foods consists of 65 % fat and 15 % de protein.
  • Plus, they barely contain carbohydrates, and many of those carbs that they do contain are in the form of fiber.
  • Meanwhile, they stand out because they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. In particular, there’s alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega 3 fatty acids.
  • At the same time, they offer significant amounts of vitamins E and B6 and minerals like potassium, copper, and phosphorous.
A nutcracker opening walnuts.
Nuts stand out for their omega 3, vitamin E, protein, and essential mineral content.

How do walnuts reduce blood pressure?

As we’ve seen, one of the nutritional components of nuts is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). A recent study by Pennsylvania State University found a relationship between walnut consumption and improved cardiovascular health.

Scientists determined that people that added walnuts to their diet regularly had lower blood pressure that those who consumed the same diet without walnuts. What’s more, they concluded that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in your diet offers other benefits on a cardiovascular level.

So, the results suggest that walnuts reduce blood pressure thanks to their interesting lipid profile with alpha-linolenic acid. However, not all of their benefits have to do with this component.

The role of other nutrients like tocopherols, phenolic acids, melatonin, and flavonoids also is important. These have antioxidant properties that protect endothelial function and reduce oxidative damage to the arteries.

These findings are very important. Experts were already aware that walnuts have the capacity to reduce LDL cholesterol. However, they were unaware of the effects they could have on diastolic pressure. As you may know, both conditions are risk factors when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Discover more: Proper Nutrition For Chronic Illnesses

The right diet for high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a health problem that affects many people and needs to be kept under control. Preventing high blood pressure and controlling high values if one suffers from the illness is important for reducing negative effects. This also reduces mortality and morbidity due to coronary causes.

Fortunately, implementing small changes in your lifestyle is one of the best ways to go about it.  In this sense, the healthiest habits include the following

  • Stay physically active. Try to exercise every day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Try to keep your stress levels under control. Physical exercise is one of the best stress-control activities. However, you can also try yoga, tai chi, meditation, massage, etc.
  • Avoid harmful habits like tobacco and alcohol.
  • Eat healthily.
A healthy meal with sauteed vegetables.
Eating nuts alone doesn’t help to reduce blood pressure. Rather, you need to make them part of a healthy diet.

Limiting your sodium intake is another one of the most common recommendations for diets that reduce high blood pressure. This practice is positive for older adults as well as those with diabetes mellitus.

Similarly, it’s important to boost your total intake of other minerals that should be abundant in your diet. These include magnesium, potassium, and calcium, among others.

Therefore, it’s important to also boost your intake of foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts (especially walnuts), and low-fat dairy products.

There has been a great deal of research on the DASH diet (a nutritional approach for hypertension). Scientific evidence suggests that combining this diet with low sodium intake reduces systolic arterial pressure.

Eating walnuts daily reduces high blood pressure

Within the context of a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean or DASH diet, consuming foods like nuts can contribute to the prevention of high blood pressure and its harmful effects. Of course, it’s also important to adopt other healthy habits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Banel D.K, Hu F.B. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Mayo 2009. 90(1):56-63.
  • Cook N. R, et al. Sodium Intake and All-Cause Mortality over 20 Years in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention. Journal of American College of Cardiology. Octubre 2016. 68(15):1609-1617.
  • Hermansen K. Diet, Blood Pressure and Hypertension. British Journal of Nutrition. Marzo 2000. 83(Suppl 1): S113-9.
  • Jurasheck S.P, et al. Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet in Relation to Baseline Blood Pressure. Journal of American College of Cardiology. Diciembre 2017. 70(23):2841-2848.
  • Kim Y, et al. Nuts and Cardio-Metabolic Disease: A Review of Meta-Analyses. Nutrients. Diciembre 2018. 10(12):1935.
  • Blondeau N, Lipsky RH, Bourourou M, Duncan MW, Gorelick PB, Marini AM. Alpha-linolenic acid: an omega-3 fatty acid with neuroprotective properties-ready for use in the stroke clinic?. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:519830. doi:10.1155/2015/519830
  • Kris-Etherton P.M. et al. The Effects of Nuts on Coronary Heart Disease Risk. Nutrition Reviews. Abril 2001. 59(4):103-111.
  • Schwingshackl L. et al. Food Groups and Risk of Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Advances in Nutrition. Noviembre 2017. 8(6):793-803.
  • Tindall A.M. et al. Replacing Saturated Fat With Walnuts or Vegetable Oils Improves Central Blood Pressure and Serum Lipids in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A RandomizedControlled‐Feeding Trial. Journal of the American Heart Association. Mayo 2019. 8(9).
  • West Sh.G et al. Effects of Diets High in Walnuts and Flax Oil on Hemodynamic Responses to Stress and Vascular Endothelial Function. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Junio 2013. 29(6):595-603.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.