A nutty stress reliever

by Camille on October 5, 2010

Walnut Photo by Ioan Sameli

How do you cope with stress? I’ve had a couple of too-busy weeks, and I’ve been relying on exercise to keep me sane. Now a new study has me thinking that I’ll want to make a simple, soothing tweak to my diet, too.

According to a new study from Penn State, walnuts are a potent stress-fighter. Researchers asked healthy adults with elevated LDL cholesterol (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) to incorporate walnuts into their meals and snacks. After about six weeks on a walnut diet, they lowered their blood pressure responses to stressful situations (like giving a speech), as well as their resting blood pressure, too.

When researchers added flax seed to the walnut mix, study subjects also experienced a reduction in C-reactive protein–a nasty inflammatory protein that’s been linked to arthritis, heart disease and several other health problems.

It’s true that walnuts aren’t a low-cal food (one ounce, which is about 14 halves, contains 185 calories; one cup contains a whopping 785). But given this research–and other studies showing that they’re a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and a bonafide brain food–they’re worth working into your daily calorie count.


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Hillarie October 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

Good to hear. I’ve been eating about 6-7 walnut halves daily with my lunch.

Jen October 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Interesting info! (and what a great photo too.) I found out last year that my HDL was a little on the low side (though still in the normal range) so i started incorporating walnuts into my diet – throwing a few into my oatmeal, etc. maybe i’ll increase that a little bit as i am prone to feeling stress!

Lauren Slayton October 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm

And..I feel because people don’t love walnuts as much, they don’t overdo them. We have them in the Foodtrainers fridge right now.

Camille October 6, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Interesting, Lauren! I love them myself, but it’s true that you can’t chow down on them the same way you can on, say, pistachios.

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