Eating Walnuts May Lower Blood Pressure, Says Study
We have already heard that consuming nuts is one of the key factors in improving brain health. Now, a new study has found that consuming walnuts is beneficial for people who are at risk of heart disease and helps them lower their blood pressure. 
 
The study was conducted by a research team from Penn State University led by Prof Penny Kris-Etherton and was published in Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers reported that when participants’ combined a diet low in saturated fats with eating walnuts, it lowered blood pressure in people at risk of cardiovascular disease.  
 
For the study, the researchers examined effects of replacing some of the saturated fats in participants’ diets with walnuts, in a randomised and controlled trial. A total of 45 participants, who were either overweight or obese and between the ages of 30 and 65, were recruited. Before the study began, they were placed on a ‘run-in’ diet for a period of two weeks. “Putting everyone on the same diet for two weeks prior to the start of the study helped put everyone on the same starting plain,” said Dr Alyssa Tindall, one of the other researchers working in Prof. Kris-Etherton’s lab. This initial run-in diet included 12% of their calories from saturated fat, in order to mimic an average American diet. This way, when the participants started on the study diets, researchers could know with certainty that the walnuts or other oils had replaced saturated fats.
 
Dr Tindall said that the study was one of the first to try to uncover which parts of the walnuts help support heart health. “Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid - ALA - a plant-based omega-3 that may positively affect blood pressure,” she said. “We wanted to see if ALA was the major contributor to these heart-healthy benefits, or if it was other bioactive component of walnuts, like polyphenols. We designed the study to test if these components had additive benefits.”
 
After the run-in diet, participants were randomly assigned to one of three study diets, all of which included less saturated fat than the run-in diet. One of the study diets incorporated whole walnuts, another included the same amount of ALA and polyunsaturated fatty acids without walnuts, and the third diet had partially substituted oleic acid (another fatty acid) for the same amount of ALA found in walnuts, without any walnuts.
 
All three diets substituted walnuts or vegetable oils for 5% of the saturated fat content of the run-in diet, and all participants followed each diet for six weeks, with a break between diet periods. Following each diet period, the researchers assessed participants for several cardiovascular risk factors including central systolic and diastolic blood pressure, brachial pressure, cholesterol and arterial stiffness. 
 
They found that when participants ate whole walnuts daily in combination with lower overall amounts of saturated fat, they had lower central blood pressure—the pressure moving towards your heart. It provides information about a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
 
Since the study suggests that walnuts were the cause of lower central pressure, Prof Kris-Etherton believes that their risk of CVD may have also decreased. “When participants ate whole walnuts, they saw greater benefits than when they consumed a diet with a similar fatty acid profile as walnuts without eating the nut itself,” she explained. “So it seems like there’s a little something extra in walnuts that are beneficial -- maybe their bioactive compounds, maybe the fiber, maybe something else—that you don’t get in the fatty acids alone.” 
 
The research team was able to conclude that, while all treatment diets had a positive effect on cardiovascular outcomes, the diet with whole walnuts provided the greatest benefits, including lower central diastolic blood pressure. 
 
Dr Tindall said that the results underline the importance of replacing saturated fat with healthier alternatives. “An average American diet has about 12 percent calories from saturated fat and all our treatment diets all had about seven percent, using walnuts or vegetable oils as a replacement,” Dr Tindall said. “So, seeing the positive benefits from all three diets sends a message that regardless of whether you replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats from walnuts or vegetable oils, you should see cardiovascular benefits.”
 
Prof Kris-Etherton added that the study supports including walnuts as part of a heart-healthy diet. “Instead of reaching for fatty red meat or full-fat dairy products for a snack, consider having some skim milk and walnuts,” she said. “I think it boils down to how we can get the most out of the food we’re eating, specifically, how to get a little more bang out of your food buck. In that respect, walnuts are a good substitute for saturated fat.”
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

VASANT KULKARNI

1 week ago

FOR INDIANS?

Ramesh Poapt

2 weeks ago

good one! awating dr Hegde!

The Stem Cell Tissue Profiteers
How well-meaning donations end up fueling an unproven, virtually unregulated $2 billion stem cell industry.
 
Their shoulders and backs and knees were giving out. Pills and steroid injections hadn’t eased their pain. They were scared of surgery. So, one afternoon last October, two dozen men and women, many of them white-haired, some leaning on canes, shuffled into a meeting room at Robson Ranch, a luxury retirement community in Denton, Texas. Sipping iced tea and clutching brochures that promised a pain-free tomorrow, they checked off their ailments on a questionnaire.
 
They were there to see a presentation by Dr. David Greene, who was introduced as a “retired orthopedic surgeon.” Atlas Medical Center, a local clinic that specializes in pain treatment, hosted the event. Greene, a short, trim man with his hair slicked up, ignored the stage and microphone and stood close to his audience. After warming up the crowd with a joke about his inept golf skills, Greene launched into his sales pitch. A tiny vial no larger than the palm of his hand, he told the group, contains roughly 10 million live stem cells, harvested from the placenta, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord or amnion, the membrane that surrounds the fetus in the womb.
 
Injected into a joint or spine, or delivered intravenously into the bloodstream, Greene told his listeners, those cells could ease whatever ailed them.
 
On a screen behind him, Greene displayed a densely printed slide with a “small list” of conditions his stem cell product could treat: arthritis, tendinitis, psoriasis, lupus, hair loss, facial wrinkles, scarring, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, emphysema, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, neuropathy, pelvic pain, diabetes, dry eye, macular degeneration, kidney failure. And that was just a sample. “I need to add a couple more slides,” Greene said with a laugh.
 
Greene said that amniotic stem cells derive their healing power from an ability to develop into any kind of tissue, but he failed to mention that mainstream science does not support his claims. He also did not disclose that he lost his license to practice medicine in 2009, after surgeries he botched resulted in several deaths. Instead, he offered glowing statistics: amniotic stem cells could help the heart beat better, “on average by 20%,” he said. “Over 85% of patients benefit exceptionally from the treatment.”
 
“Patients come back to the center saying, ‘I can walk farther, I can breathe easier, I can sleep better,’ ” he proclaimed. “It’s remarkable the outcomes we’ve been seeing for the last few years.”
 
In the second row, a slender woman in a striped jacket, who had hobbled into the meeting on a wooden cane, pumped her fists in the air. “Stem cells!” she cheered.
 
For more than half a century, the regenerative possibilities of stem cells — which the body stores to repair damaged tissue and organs and restore blood supply — have tantalized the medical community. Bone marrow transplants for cancer patients, which rely on blood stem cells, fulfill this potential. But alongside legitimate, scientifically proven treatments, an industry has sprung up in which specialized clinics offer miracle remedies from poorly understood stem cell products.
 
These clinics are multiplying in the United States. According to a tally by Leigh Turner, an associate professor of bioethics at the University of Minnesota, there were 12 such clinics advertising to consumers in 2009; in 2017, there were more than 700. Unproven cellular therapies are a $2 billion global business, according to a recent paper co-authored by Massimo Dominici, the lead investigator at the cellular therapy lab at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, in Italy.
 
This burgeoning business is largely unregulated. Technically, manufacturers are required to submit stem cell therapies for review as a drug, and to provide evidence of their safety and efficacy, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t enforced the rule consistently. The former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb acknowledged in an interview that the agency’s laissez-faire attitude has made it easier for stem cell clinics to proliferate. “This is an example where the FDA, for a long period of time, took enforcement discretion, then the field grew,” he said. “Then it becomes hard to step in and actually apply the regulation.”
 
Many clinics offer stem cells taken from a patient’s own bone marrow or fat. But they’re being challenged by…Continue Reading
 
This article is a collaboration between ProPublica and The New Yorker.
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

Spending Just 20 Minutes with Nature Will Reduce Stress, Says Study
Instead of sitting at your desk, a lunchtime stroll through a park is one of the most effective stress-lowering treatments that a doctor can prescribe, new research suggests.
 
This research was conducted by a team of scientists led by Dr Mary Carol Hunter, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, and has been published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Psychology. Communing with nature has long been recognised as restorative but now scientists claim to have worked out the optimum daily dose. 
 
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr Hunter. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
 
The results from the study indicate that spending 20 to 30 minutes in surroundings that made a person feel connected to nature, lowers stress hormones by about 10%, enough to improve their feeling of well-being. ‘Nature pills’, as the experience is often referred to by healthcare practitioners, could be a low-cost solution to reduce the negative health impacts stemming from growing urbanisation and indoor lifestyles dominated by screen viewing. In order to assist healthcare practitioners looking for evidence-based guidelines on what exactly to dispense, Dr Hunter and her colleagues designated an experiment that would give a realistic estimate of an effective dose. 
 
For the study, participants were asked to take a ‘nature pill’ over an eight-week period, for a duration of 10 minutes or more, at least three times a week. To track the effects of this dose, levels of cortisol were measured from saliva samples taken before and after the prescribed nature experience, once every two weeks.  
 
“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature,” Dr Hunter explained. She further added, that there were a few additional constraints to minimise factors known to influence stress such as taking the nature pill in daylight hours, no aerobic exercise and avoiding use of social media, Internet, phone calls, conversations and reading.
 
This particular experiment allowed participants to make allowances for their busy lifestyles by providing them with the freedom to choose an appropriate time slot for their nature experience. This novel experimental design also allowed researchers to gather meaningful results. “Building personal flexibility into the experiment allowed us to identify the optimal duration of a nature pill, no matter when or where it is taken and under the normal circumstances of modern life, with its unpredictability and hectic scheduling,” said Dr Hunter.
 
The study accommodated for day-to-day differences in a participant’s stress status by collecting four snapshots of cortisol change affected by the prescribed nature experience. It also allowed researchers to identify and account for the impact of ongoing, natural drop in cortisol level as the day progresses, making the estimate of effective duration more reliable. 
 
The collected data revealed that just a 20-minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. But if you were to spend a little more time immersed in a nature experience, i.e., 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking, cortisol levels dropped at their highest rate. After that, additional de-stressing benefits continue to add up, but at a slower rate. 
 
“Healthcare practitioners can use our results as an evidence-based rule to thumb on what to put in a nature pill prescription,” says Dr Hunter. “It provides the first estimates of how nature experiences impact stress levels in the context of normal daily life. It breaks new ground by addressing some of the complexities of measuring an effective nature dose.”
 
Dr Hunter and her colleagues hope that this study will form the basis of further research in this area. They are hoping that their experimental approach can be used as a tool to assess how age, gender, seasonality, physical ability and culture can influence the effectiveness of nature experiences on well-being. Dr Hunter believes that this will allow for customised nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and well-being programmes for the public.
 
Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

User

COMMENTS

derek rooney

1 week ago

I had COPD for 9 years. My first symptoms were dry cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. My first chest x-ray only showed bronchitis. Finally I went to a pulmonologist and was diagnosed with COPD.i have used all the medication yet they don’t work, last year December I was told by a formal emphysema patient to use  totalcureherbsfoundation . com herbal treatment which I really did,i was surprise the herbal products effectively get rid of my COPD totally. When you get where you cannot breathe it may be too late. Good luck to each and every one that will be trying their herbal treatment .

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

online financial advisory
Pathbreakers
Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
online financia advisory
The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
financial magazines online
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
financial magazines in india
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)