Vitolins, M.Z., C.S. Blackwell, J.D. Williamson, C.G. Foy, S. Wilmoth, K.M. Sink, L.M. Reynolds, R.P. Byington, D.M. Reboussin, 2017. The feasibility of walnut and extra virgin olive oil supplementation in older adults. J Food Nutr Sci. 4(1):1-6.
Researchers in Spain provided randomized, controlled trial evidence that adding extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and nuts to diets of older adults lowered cardiovascular disease risk. Supplementing these foods may represent a simple and straightforward approach to favourable dietary change with potential for dissemination to the broader public. This was an 8-week feasibility trial in which all participants were asked to supplement their ad libitum diets with both walnuts and EVOO to determine their interest in participating and to assess retention and adherence once enrolled. Inclusion criteria were broad: Adults ≥ 55 years old treated for hypertension with medication; exclusions included walnuts/EVOO allergies, homebound or diagnosis of dementia. Recruitment was assessed as number of weeks to accrue 25 participants. Adherence was assessed by participant self-report using a daily diary. Blood pressure (BP), body weight, and HDL cholesterol were measured to estimate the variability of outcomes. Results: Twenty- seven participants were recruited in 2 ½ weeks; 26 of the 27 participants remained in the study for a retention rate of 96% (95% CI: 78% – 100%). Of 216 possible diaries, 185 were returned (86%). On average, weight increased over 8 weeks by 0.8 pounds. Mean systolic BP dropped by 0.25 mmHg while mean diastolic BP decreased by 1.0 mmHg. Mean HDL increased by 1.96 mg/dL. A full-scale walnut/EVOO trial in older adults with hypertension seems realistic given our high rates of recruitment, retention, and adherence, coupled with minimal weight gain and favorable trends in BP and HDL.