Wednesday Bubble: Nuts!

Posted by on May 12, 2010 in heart disease | 3 comments

Last month my friend Mollie Katzen spoke to me about the importance of incorporating more good fats into your diet, including nuts. Well, it turns out that nuts are a lot better for you than many of us realize, especially those of you who are thinner and have higher LDL-cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in the arteries and form fatty deposits known as ¬†plaque). In fact, results of an extensive analysis of 25 studies shows that individuals who are thinner and have higher initial cholesterol levels and who eat about 2.4 ounces or (~2 servings) of nuts (e.g.almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, macademia nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts) daily can ¬†significantly lower their cholesterol over time.

In this analysis, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week, researchers examined data collecte4d from 583 men and women with either normal or high cholesterol levels and whose body-mass indices ranged from 17 to 49. The findings showed that compared to nutless diets, nut diets reduced total cholesterol by as much as 5% and LDL by as much as 7%. People with high triglyceride levels experienced declines by as much as 21%. Although different types of nuts had similar effects on blood fats, the most dramatic effects were seen among people who were thinner, ate more Western-type diets (i.e. higher in saturated fats) had higher LDL cholesterol levels.

What this implies is that nuts can help lower blood fat and cholesterol levels and in turn, help prevent heart disease. Although the studies included in the analysis did not last longer than 8 weeks, the researchers did note that the benefits of eating nuts can be expected at least in the short-term. For menopausal women in particular, this is fantastic news, not only because nuts are an excellent protein and energy source, but because the transition is associated with a dramatic increase in cholesterol and turn, heart disease.

The bottom line? Don’t go nuts….but start getting those nuts into your diet!

3 Comments

  1. 5-12-2010

    Thanks, Liz! I’ve been supporting the intake of nuts for years. Many people fear them because they are high calorie, but 1 oz/day will keep the doctor away!

    • 5-12-2010

      Danielle – they truly are the ultimate healthfood, aren’t they? Women in particular shy away from nuts and so unnecessarily so.

  2. 5-12-2010

    I have trouble eating only 2 oz or so! But maybe I’ll start portioning it out…. Thanks!

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