Variety of Nuts Helps Lower Risk of Heart Disease

A recent study in the US showed that people who regularly consume different types of nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and tree nuts may be at lower risk for heart disease than those who rarely or never eat nuts.

Researchers looked at the medical history, lifestyle and eating habits for more than 210,000 healthcare workers. During an average follow-up of more than two decades, 14,136 people developed cardiovascular disease, including 8,390 coronary heart disease cases and 5,910 strokes.

On the other hand, people who had one 28-gram serving of nuts at least five times a week were 14 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease, the study found.

“Consuming a variety of nuts at least a few times per week is beneficial to lowering risk of cardiovascular disease,” noted senior study author Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a nutrition researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston via email.

However, people should not overdo it, and they should avoid salted nuts.

Bhipathiraju further added that nuts are high in calories and used to replace other protein foods rather than being added to the diet.

Eating nuts has long been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, but much of this research has focused on overall intake rather than identifying specific types of nuts that may have the biggest benefit.

The current study studied different types of nuts separately and found that people who ate walnuts at least once a week had a 19per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease than people who never ate nuts.

Separately, eating at least two weekly servings of peanuts was associated with a 13per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 15per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Two servings or more of tree nuts such as almonds, cashews and pistachios were linked to a 15per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23per cent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Researchers found no link between total nut consumption and risk of stroke, but the risk of stroke was lower in people who consumed larger amounts of peanuts and walnuts. Peanut butter and tree nuts were also not linked to stroke risk.

The study was reported online on November 13 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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