By Wendy Williams

EATING walnuts could help you deal with stress and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

The autumn bounty, which is currently being harvested around inland Andalucia, is a fabulous way to stay healthy.

The findings come after Penn State University studied 22 adults with high levels of bad cholesterol.

The group were given a mixed diet over six weeks – some without nuts, one with walnuts and walnut oil and a third with walnuts and flaxseed oil.

Participants were then asked to undergo a stress test either giving a three-minute speech or immersing one foot in ice cold water.

Interestingly, the results showed that eating walnuts actually lowered blood pressure responses to stress.

Sheila West, who led the study, said: “This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress.

“This is important because we can’t avoid all the stresses in our daily lives.”

She added: “People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease.

“A simple dietary change like this one could help our bodies better respond to stress.”

Spanish walnut cake

For those of you keen to test out the theory and to make use of the walnuts that are in abundance at this time of year, here is a delicious recipe for a Spanish Walnut Cake…

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar

Mix dry ingredients with walnuts. Beat egg yolks and add milk. Add a pinch of salt to egg whites and beat until stiff. Cream butter and sugar; add, alternately, flour mixture and milk. Fold in egg whites and bake in an 8×8 greased pan for 40 minutes.

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