Stroke Awareness Month: How can California Walnuts help?

Stroke is a global epidemic, in the UK alone someone will have a stroke every 5 minutes[1]. We’re looking at what a stroke actually is, what you can do to reduce your risk and how California Walnuts can help.

 What is a stroke?

According to the Stroke Association, a stroke is when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells.

What are the signs of a stroke?

A stroke is a medical emergency and the FAST test can help you recognise the most common signs:

  • Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time to call 999: If you see any of these signs.

 What causes a stroke and how do you reduce your risk?

The hardening or narrowing or our arteries causes a stroke which can happen as we age but can also be caused through medical conditions or lifestyle factors.

The good news is that according to the NHS, there are several ways you can reduce your risk of stroke: eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, following the recommended guidelines on alcohol intake and not smoking[3].

For more advice visit the Stroke Association website and the NHS website

How can California Walnuts help?

Walnuts are the only tree nut to contain a rich source of omega 3 ALA, 2.7g / 30g, which can contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels[4] and plays a beneficial role in the prevention of heart disease[5] and stroke[6]. Research reviewed by EFSA leading to an approved health claim has shown ALA contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular health and why California Walnuts have been given the heart healthy seal of approval from charity Heart UK.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet including tree nuts, primarily walnuts, was associated with a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, or death) and specifically a 46% lower risk of stroke, when compared to a low-fat diet.[7]

In another study consuming just half a serving a day of nuts, such as walnuts (a serving of walnuts is approximately 30g), has been linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared with those who consumed no nuts.

Prevention is key, and including a handful of walnuts in your daily diet is a great way of adding a healthy crunch to your meals. Thanks to their mild and creamy flavour, California Walnuts are delicious as a snack on their own, and taste great in a range of recipes. If you need some culinary inspiration, check out our recipe collection.

[4] EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to walnuts and maintenance of normal blood LDL‐cholesterol concentrations (ID 1156, 1158) and improvement of endothelium‐dependent vasodilation (ID 1155, 1157) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2011; 9( 4):2074. [19 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2074.
[7] Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Savaldó J et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jun 21;378(25):e34. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1800389. Epub 2018 Jun 13.