A handful of nuts a day may reduce risk of heart disease

Researchers from Norway found that eating more nuts and seeds could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Results were recently published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research.

The team of scientists from the University of Oslo reviewed 60 studies and estimated that with around 30 grams of nuts every day, you will have a 20% to 25% lower risk of suffering from a heart attack. 

The more nuts, the better

Adults in Nordic countries only eat around 4 grams of nuts daily or don't eat them at all, while they should consume a handful of nuts a day. 

The study co-author and researcher at the University of Oslo, Erik Arnesen says: "The more, the better." And these can be any nuts - as all of them are very healthy. Researchers said no conclusive evidence exists for recommending specific kinds of nuts over others. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are known as the best for helping to lower cholesterol levels, while peanuts are rich in protein. 

Arnesen said in the press release: "Nuts have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels in the blood, which is important to keep low in order to prevent the buildup of fat in the arteries. This atherosclerosis, as it is called, is one of the greatest risk factors for heart attacks." 

Researchers reviewed studies which involved nearly 2 million participants. They also investigated whether eating nuts reduced the risk of strokes and Type 2 diabetes, but the results were not as clear. They could not determine if nuts affect blood pressure and affect blood sugar.

But eating nuts is linked to improved cholesterol levels, even though the review can't actually prove the exact causes and results. It may be related to the composition of fatty acids in nuts, which is so beneficial for the heart.

"Thanks to this systematic review and meta-analysis, we can present a more precise estimate of the actual effects. Proving that nuts lower cholesterol levels provides a credible explanation for why there is a connection between eating nuts and the risk of cardiovascular disease," Arnesen said.

Even though nuts cannot be used to treat high cholesterol, we believe that the effect is significant enough to be used as a preventive measure amongst the general population," he added.


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