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.