Walnuts blood pressure

Walnuts blood pressure brings new research about a vegetable-sourced omega 3 fatty acid; and isometric knee exercises that will drop your BP by 8 points.

Vegans have difficulty getting enough of two of the omega 3 fatty acids because they are found mainly in cold water fish; EPA and DHA. They are well known for their  proven anti-inflammatory effects.

However Penn State researchers have now found that a combination of walnuts and flax seed oil significantly lowers diastolic blood pressure; and decreases C-reactive protein, a key inflammatory marker.

This page was last updated on 7th January, 2024.

Photograph of walnuts for their effect on blood pressure.

"Nine walnuts a day and a couple tablespoons of flaxseed-oil keeps the doctor away."

A diet rich in walnuts and their oil may prepare the body to deal better with stress, according to a team of researchers.

They looked at how the nuts together with flaxseed, which also contains the omega-3 polyunsaturated fat called ALA influence blood pressure at rest; and when anxious about something.

Previous studies have shown that omega 3, the Alpha Linolenic Acid found in walnuts and flax seeds can reduce low density lipoproteins, the so-called bad cholesterol.

These "functional foods" also lower C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation; they enhance wellness and help make us less vulnerable to disease.

There is a marked difference between two kinds of LDL molecules.

  • Those that are small and dense can permeate the inner-layer of arteries.
  • Those that are larger, still carrying their fatty component cannot; these latter are not damaging.

You can read more about the different kinds of fats at "olive garden nutrition." Find it using Site Search in the menu above.

"People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at a higher risk of heart-disease."

- Professor West.

They set out to discover if omega-3 fatty acids from plants would reduce the catastrophic effect of exaggerated cardiovascular responses to stress.

The researchers studied 22 normal adults but who had raised LDL, the bad cholesterol. All meals and snacks were provided during three periods of six-weeks each.

They found that including walnuts and the oil in the diet lowered both resting blood-pressure and the BP responses to stress in the laboratory.

Participants had to give a speech or placed their feet in cold water to stress their bodies. Interestingly, adding flax seed oil to the walnut diet did not further lower their blood pressure. Perhaps it is not the ALA that is the active component.

This is the first study to show the affect of walnuts on blood-pressure and its protection during stress, stated Professor West. This is important because we simply cannot avoid many of the contortions in daily life.

This study shows that a simple dietary change such as eating walnuts will help us respond better to stress.

Here is a thought for the blood transfusion services; my own pressure soars when I visit the vampires. I find it extremely stressful. Perhaps they could supply a handful of walnuts instead of those cookies.

Walnuts blood pressure

A subset of the participants also underwent a Doppler ultrasound scan in order to measure the effect on their arteries. Adding flax oil to the walnut diet significantly improved this test of vascular health.

Linseed oil, also known as flax

Flax also known as Linseed is so named after it is most prodigious component, alpha linolenic acid, or ALA. It is one of the three omega-3 fats.

It also has a small amount of linoleic-acid, something quite different.

What is the effect of walnuts and flax-seed on arteries?

Linseed is simply another name for flax. When added to walnuts blood pressure it made a winning combination[2].


There are three omega-3 fatty acids. Two are found mainly in fatty fish and krill, and the third, ALA, in vegetable products. The richest and easiest to obtain is freshly ground flaxseed; perfect for vegetarians. It is not as effective though.

The oil in flaxseeds is over 50 percent omega-3, Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA).

Flax seeds nutrition information talks about the omega-3[3].


Important for arthritis sufferers is that flaxseed plus walnuts also lowered C-reactive protein, an important marker, indicating an anti inflammatory effect. According to Professor West, that would also reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel disease.

"Anti-inflammatory drugs" can often be avoided if you let your food be your medicine; use the Site Search function key for more information.

It is worth noting that the FDA in July 2015 gave new instructions to all drug companies marketing anti-inflammatory drugs not including aspirin; to inform consumers that there is an increased risk of heart attack, cardiac failure and stroke with drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac; and celecoxib too.

What is more it can occur as early as the first week of taking an NSAID.

Should you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, weakness on one side of the body or slurred speech, immediately stop all NSAIDs and get to the emergency rooms.

It is worth noting too that over half of the patients in most DCs' offices are consulting them for conditions related to arthritis. Whilst iatrogenic disease occurs in our setting too, it is extremely rare that it has the devastating side-effects that NSAIDs have.

It is questionable whether it is good practice to have a manipulation of the upper cervical spine whilst taking NSAIDS.

Do you have arthritis?

  • Eat walnuts.
  • Add freshly-ground flaxseed to your cereals and homemade bread and baking.
  • Enjoy fatty fish.
  • See your DC?

Gold standard research methods


The researchers used a powerful, accepted design for their research. Tests were conducted at the end of each six-week diet, and each person consumed each of the three menus in a random order, with a one week break in between.

The diets used were:

  1. An average American diet which has no nuts that reflects what the typical person in the U.S. consumes each day; peanuts do not count.
  2. The 2nd diet included 1.3 ounces of walnuts (9) and 1 TBSP of the oil in place of some of the fat and protein in the average American diet.
  3. The 3rd diet included walnuts, the oil and 1.5 TBSP of flaxseed oil.

After each dietary period, the participants underwent two stress tests. In the first, they received a topic; and then they were given two minutes to prepare a three-minute speech, which they had to present whilst being videoed.

For the second stress they submerged one foot in ice-cold water. Throughout the tests they measured each participant's blood pressure.

Results showed that average diastolic value, the bottom number in 120/80 which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting, was markedly reduced during the periods when they were eating diets containing walnuts and the oil.

Walnuts are a rich source of fibre, anti-oxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. It is thought that some of these compounds may be responsible for the beneficial effect of walnuts on blood pressure.

Flax seed oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but this study did not test whether that alone could reduce the response of the heart and blood vessels to stress.

Anti inflammatory omega 3 gives walnuts their powerful effect on blood pressure.

These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce total cholesterol and blood pressure.

Dr Sheila West.

This research also suggests that blood pressure is more stable when a person is exposed to the stresses of daily life.

Pecans omega-3

Whilst I know of no similar research with pecan nuts, they too are rich in omega-3, ALA, and may have a similar effect to that of walnuts blood pressure.

Pecans may also help with blood pressure[4].

Three pecan nuts a day will help with blood pressure too.


Of great concern is that half of folk on the typical industrial diet being eaten today are getting less than 50% of the recommended dietary allowance. The mineral helps to maintain the muscles that line our blood vessels; it is intimately involved in hypertension.

Magnesium from nuts and seeds can supply a large part of our daily needs.

New Blood-Pressure guidelines from JAMA

Personally I am skeptical about big pharma's guidelines about medication; they have such a checkered history of fudging the figures to increase their profits.

However, blood pressure medication I recommend without reservation as a chiropractor to my patients, despite the chronic cough they sometimes cause. The president of the international stroke foundation recently stated at a conference in Cape Town that South Africans usually require two different medications to control BP.

But when should you start taking them? These new BP guidelines from JAMA which came out in 2014 make a lot of sense.

  • Older than 60? If either of the figures in your BP is over 150/90.
  • Younger than 60? If either is over 140/90.
  • If you have kidney disease or diabetes at any age? 140/90.

"NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. They can damage your kidneys if you take too many at once or take them frequently."

- WebMD

White-coat blood pressure

It is a proven fact that many patients become anxious when having their BP taken. I refused to adjust the neck of a patient recently, using only very gentle techniques that happily she responded well to. Her BP was 190/105 on medication; she is significantly overweight, but in fact she has white coat blood pressure.

Exercise to lower BP

All exercise helps lower blood pressure but surprisingly the most effective are isometrics at the knees; where there's no movement of the joints[8].

Mathematicians after following 16,000 individuals in 270 trials found that most effective was simply to stand with your back against the wall, slowly bend the knees in a comfortable manner, hold it for 45 seconds, straighten up and repeat five more times with one minute intervals.

It is called a "wall squat." What could be easier? Don't go too deep and injure your knees.

You could add to that a two-chair sitting exercise; hook your feet under the rail. At 60* of flexion, extend the knees against resistance with no movement using 80% of your power. Again hold for 45 seconds, rest one minute, and repeat five times.

Obviously if you repeat these simple exercises several times a day it would be even more effective.

That would lower your BP by over 8 points, enough for many people to go off medication.

Vascular dementia

"Smoking, a bad diet and lifestyle all contribute to vascular dementia; as well as raised cholesterol, unstable diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure.”

- Prof John Joska

Although the vascular dementia condition does not necessarily cause a stroke, the blood flows very slowly; it can become chalky with calcium and then the deep tissue is poorly oxygenated, resulting in slowing of the brain.

Memory, difficulties with planning and thinking are affected; sufferers have cognitive impairment. Forgetfulness is a hallmark; those suffering from this form of dementia struggle to complete tasks and they may have language problems.

Walnuts blood pressure is one partial solution but an overhaul of the whole lifestyle is really needed. Food as medicine is the new buzzword.

However her GP assures me that if you allow her to sit and read for half an hour, it drops to 135/90.

Maybe so but I still do not adjust her upper cervical spine. And I have encouraged her to read this page about walnuts blood pressure. White-coat BP is just a stress reaction; but even if it drops to normal when not anxious, it remains a serious threat that it rises so high when she is under pressure.

I am a blood donor; white-coat blood pressure, or perhaps a fear of needles, often gives serious concerns to the phlebotomist but once I am home it returns to normal.

Here is a suggestion; whilst eating nine walnuts a day may seem intimidating, unlike blood pressure medication that often induces an irritating dry cough, they have no side effects; and are probably a lot cheaper if you can get them whole as we did in Holland.

It is rather more PT as one really should crack them yourself; what would the outcome be if you ate only three walnuts a day? Perhaps enjoying a handful of pecans might have a similar beneficial effect.

Heart failure

Much of the research on heart failure has been done with omega-3 from fatty fish; now scientists have found that plant-based ALA also gives on patients a 39% lower chance of dying or being hospitalised[6]; that's massive. Walnuts, freshly ground flaxseed and purslane plant are common sources.

Frailty syndrome

Researchers following 70,000 women for 24 years[7] found there is a strong evidence that regular consumption of nuts gives strong protection against frailty syndrome; the premature aging associated with fatigue, lowered strength and multiple chronic conditions.

Alas commercial peanut-butters give no such protection.

Back to reality

The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) study saw robust reduction in mortality in the short term after the intensive medical treatment phase but alas after 4.5 years there was no difference as compared to the standard group.

Back to reality means unless we look carefully at lifestyle factors which must change there is no benefit from intensive medical drug treatment[5]; look also to natural methods such as walnuts blood pressure.

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