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Walnuts for High Blood Pressure

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Walnuts for High Blood Pressure
A bowl of walnuts on a marble counter. Photo Credit Janet Rhodes/iStock/Getty Images

About one-third of American adults have high blood pressure and are at increased risk for congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Improving your diet can help you lower your blood pressure, and walnuts can be a beneficial component of a healthy diet. Consume them in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet, and talk to your doctor for advice on lowering high blood pressure.

Know the Research

Research indicates that walnuts can help lower blood pressure. A review article published in the April 2014 edition of the “Journal of Nutrition” describes the possible effectiveness of walnut consumption in lowering diastolic blood pressure. Researchers conducting a randomized controlled trial, described in the December 2012 edition of the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” found that systolic blood pressure decreased within eight weeks among overweight adults who included walnuts in their diets.

Choose Lower-Sodium Snacks

Each ounce of English walnuts contains only 1 milligram of sodium. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that is necessary for maintaining fluid balance in your body, but a high-sodium diet can prevent you from lowering high blood pressure. You should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day if you have high blood pressure, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Lower your sodium consumption by choosing unsalted walnuts for a crunchy snack instead of salty snacks, such as salted pretzels or potato chips. An ounce of salted pretzels contains 326 milligrams of sodium, which is 325 milligrams more than the same serving of walnuts.

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Increase Your Consumption of Magnesium

Each ounce of English walnuts provides 45 milligrams of magnesium, or 11 percent of the recommended daily value. Consuming adequate magnesium may help prevent the development of high blood pressure, and magnesium may help lower elevated blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. This mineral is also necessary for proper energy metabolism and cell signaling. To increase the magnesium content of your breakfast, select an unrefined cereal, such as oat bran, and add walnuts, banana slices and milk.

Lose Excess Pounds

If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, losing a few pounds can help you lower your blood pressure. Including walnuts in your regular diet can help because individuals who consume nuts in moderation tend to have lower body weights, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Walnuts are high-calorie, though, so consume them only in moderation. Each ounce contains 185 calories.

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