So far in this series I have discussed how I used the Ketogenic Diet, Magnesium and L-Arginine supplementation to lower my blood pressure with varying degrees of success. I continued looking through the medical literature to find alternative ways to get my blood pressure as low as possible. My criteria was simple, I wanted to find ways to improve my BP with either food or relatively cheap supplementation.
As I looked through the available studies, I found a few that mentioned eating certain nuts as a way to lower blood pressure with a special emphasis on walnuts and pistachios so this was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to use as an experiment.
Using Pistachios to Lower Blood Pressure
The first study I found was Diets Containing Pistachios Reduce Systolic Blood Pressure and Peripheral Vascular Responses to Stress in Adults With Dyslipidemia. This study put participants on a control diet for 2 weeks then split them into 2 groups with one group getting one serving of pistachios perday and another group getting 2 servings of pistachios per day. The group that got 2 servings saw a blood pressure drop of 4.8 points in the systolic versus 2.4 points in the single serving group.
As I started doing some research into pistachios I found a very interesting video detailing how pistachios were prepared.
After watching this video, the thing that really surprised me was the fact that pistachios are dry roasted and salted. The one thing that made me shy away from nut in the past was they are all roasted in some kind of PUFA like sunflower seed oil. Pistachios don’t have these seed oils and are high magnesium and potassium, 2 electrolytes that have also been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure. They also have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive if you order them online in bulk.
Using Walnuts to Lower Blood Pressure
Next up was this study entitled Effects of Walnuts on Serum Lipid Levels and Blood Pressure in Normal Men. While this particular study did not show a statistically significant drop in blood pressure, I knew that walnuts are high in Omega 3 fats and I was looking for ways to get more of that in my diet that didn’t include sardines. Not that I have anything against Wild Planet sardines but who wants to eat sardines every day?
So that was my experiment, focusing on eating about a handful of either of these nuts for a month or so and see what happened. After a month there was a very modest drop in my BP, like maybe 2 or 3 points. However, I found it extremely difficult to not gain weight. One problem is it is difficult to find unsalted pistachios and any time I eat a salted nut, I want to eat all the salted nuts I can get my hands on. Something that salt just makes me want to not stop eating. I tried to offset the weight gain by doing more cardio but there isn’t enough cardio in the word to undo 800 calories of nuts on top of whatever else I was eating.
So I don’t know what to make of this. I think I saw about as much success with using nuts to lower my blood pressure as I possible could but I don’t think it was worth the trade off with the weight gain. Maybe if I was where I wanted to be with my weight it would be worth it but as it is, I think this is going to be a pass. Not that I won’t eat nuts anymore but certainly not every day.
Have you seen any success using nuts to lower blood pressure? Let me know in the comments below!