Are you stressed? Although much of our daily stress comes from financial burdens and relationship issues, sometimes something as simple as dietary adjustments can help make a difference. Even the smallest of foods can deliver some big results. According to a Penn State University study, eating a handful of walnuts every day can prepare your body to deal with stress and anxiety more efficiently.
For the study, researchers looked specifically at walnuts and walnut oil due to the tree nut containing polyunsaturated fats. These types of healthful fats influence our blood pressure both when we are at rest, and when we are feeling the pressure of a crazy day. People with an exaggerated response to stress often have higher risks for many diseases, including heart disease.
Looking at walnut omega 3-fatty acids, researchers wanted to know exactly how plant-derived fats would curb the cardiovascular response to stress. Twenty-two healthy adults with elevated LDL cholesterol ate three different diets, depending on the groups they were assigned, for six weeks.
They were then subjected to stress tests which included having to give a public speech or immersing a foot in icy cold water.
The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition: results which proved that when participants consumed a diet with walnuts and walnut oil, their blood pressure and stress responses were lower.
The study concluded:
“These results suggest novel mechanisms for the cardioprotective effects of walnuts and flax, and further work is needed to identify the bioactives responsible for these effects.”
Besides the surprisingly beneficial effects on blood pressure and inflammation, walnuts have also been linked to the prevention of gallstones and the improvement of sleep patterns by boosting melatonin. Walnuts have also been shown to protect bones and help with weight loss. Further, they are full of antioxidants which scourge the body for free radicals.
Check out some other health benefits of walnuts here.
Most Americans don’t include any nuts in their diets and consume way too many man-made fats that can actually make heart disease worse. You only have to eat 9 whole walnuts in a day (a quarter cup of walnuts provides over 90% of the recommended daily value of omega-3 fats) to get the benefits that these researchers uncovered,. Who doesn’t want to stop the effects of stress? They can simply make you nutty.
Start consuming more walnuts today and see if it makes a difference.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.