Nuts for heart health

Tree nuts touted in new study



mixed nuts

Want to keep your heart healthy? Go nuts! Tree nuts.

These include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Not peanuts—they’re legumes.

According to an NIH-funded study published yesterday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers reviewed and meta-analyzed controlled trials investigating the effect of tree nuts on heart health in adults without cardiovascular disease.

The conclusion is that consumption of these little tasties can lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and its primary apolipoprotein, ApoB. ApoB is thought to offer even better information about heart disease risk than does LDL, according to senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

“Accumulating evidence suggests that nut intake lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Our findings provide mechanistic evidence to support this relationship," said lead author Liana Del Gobbo, PhD, currently a researcher in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University.

The benefits tree nuts provide were even stronger in people with type-2 diabetes, the study found. Eating tree nuts may be even more important for people who have diabetes or insulin resistance, said Mozaffarian.

What nutrients do tree nuts provide? Unsaturated fats, high quality protein, vitamins (i.e., vitamin E, folate and niacin), minerals (i.e., magnesium, calcium and potassium) and phytochemicals--all of which may protect the heart.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 gave a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease: "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Researchers investigated 1,301 potentially eligible studies, and found that 61 crossover and parallel trials met eligibility criteria, representing 2,582 people. For 3 to 26 weeks, nuts were given out in the trials, from 5 to 100 grams per day (median 56 grams/day or approximately 2 ounces). Compared with the control groups, consumption of tree nuts (per serving/day) significantly lowered total cholesterol (-4.7mg/dL; 95% CI-5.3,-4.0), LDL cholesterol, ApoB (-3.7mg/dL; 95% CI -5.2,-2.3) and triglycerides (-2.2mg/dL; 95% CI-3.8,-0.5)

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This story was based on information obtained from the AAAS. Source >>

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