We’re nuts about nuts. A new epidemiological study demonstrates that people who enjoy an ounce of nuts several times a week are less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease (Guasch-Ferré et al, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online, Nov. 14, 2017).
How Do Nuts Help the Heart?
The investigators reviewed data from over 200,000 health care workers. These health professionals participated in the Nurses Health Study, the Nurses Health Study 2 and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They provided data on their health and behavior for more than 20 years.
Every four years they answered questionnaires about their dietary habits. Compared to people who did not consume nuts, those who ate an ounce of nuts at least five times a week had a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Apparently, both peanuts and tree nuts help the heart; walnuts seemed to have the strongest effect. Almonds, cashews and pistachios were also associated with reduced rates of clogged coronary arteries. Don’t count on peanut butter for benefit, though. Overall, it neither helped nor harmed people’s risk of cardiovascular complications.
Nuts & Nutrition:
The researchers point out the nutritional benefits of nuts. They are rich in minerals and fiber as well as unsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts, in particular, contain omega-3 fatty acids that appear to protect the arteries. Both the DASH diet, proven to control blood pressure, and the Mediterranean diet, shown to reduce cardiovascular problems, contain nuts as one component. This seems to be additional evidence that nuts help the heart. You’ll find detailed information on how to follow either of these diets in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.