According to a large study, eating a small portion of nuts each day protects against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even premature death.
In a large meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine, it was found that nut intake is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death from respiratory disease, diabetes, and infections. Reportedly, only 28 grams of nuts per day is enough to have an impact (good news for those trying to manage their weight). The results were similar for tree nuts and peanuts. If the associations were causal (we're not saying they are), than it would mean over 4.4 million premature deaths annually could be attributed to insufficient consumption of nuts. Looking for yummy way to add more nuts to your menu? Try Medisys Registered Dietitian Crystal Higgins' African Peanut Stew. Click here for recipe.
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Nuts for Heart Health
Sure nuts are high in fat and calories, but they are also packed with protein, fibre, and antioxidants. More recent studies suggest that nuts also offer a number of health benefits including cardio protective properties.
Nuts are a convenient, portable and healthy snack. When it comes to nuts, a little goes a long way. Eating a daily serving of just 28g (1oz) of nuts can help lower your risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. Since each nut has a unique nutritional make up, it’s best to include a variety of nuts in your meal plan. When it comes to eating nuts as snacks, opt for plain, unsalted nuts (not the kind that are smoked, salted, or candied).
Why are nuts so healthy?
- Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats that help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and raise HDL “good” cholesterol
- Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help control abnormal heart rhythms
- Nuts contain arginine, Vitamin E, potassium, folic acid and fibre – nutrients that help promote heart health
To get your daily dose of nuts, try the following.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts like almonds, walnuts or pistachios on fish before baking
- Add chopped nuts to yogurt, cereal or salads
- Try different nut butters such as almond or cashew butter - limit the serving to 30 ml (2 tbsp)
- Add chopped nuts to smoothies and blend thoroughly
Eating nuts is one part of a heart healthy lifestyle. Other heart healthy habits include daily exercise, maintaining a healthy waist circumference and stress management. Do you know your risk for heart disease and stroke? Take the test and find out!
More articles you might like:
- Fraser GE, Sabate J, Beeson WL, Strahan TM. A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease. The Adventist Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1416–24.
- Sabate J, Ang Y. Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1643S–8S.
- Sabate J, Oda K, Ros E. Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:821–7.
- Falasca M, Casari I, Maffucci T. Cancer chemoprevention with nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014;106(9). doi:1093/jnci/dju238.
- Hshieh TT, Petrone AB, Gaziano JM, Djousse L. Nut consumption and risk of mortality in the Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101:407–12.
- Luu HN, Blot WJ, Xiang YB, et al. Prospective evaluation of the association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175:755–66.
- Bao Y, Han J, Hu FB, et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:2001–11.
- Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs Jr DR. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006;96 Suppl 2:S52–60.
- Albert CM, Gaziano JM, Willett WC, Manson JE. Nut consumption and decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in the Physicians’ Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:1382–7.
- Greger, M. How Not To Die. 562 pp. (Flatiron Books, Inc., 2015)
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