Epidemiological studies have associated eating nut with reduced risk for coronary heart disease (narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart).

Researchers in the US and Spain reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • Data from 25 nutconsumption studies in 583 men and women conducted in 7 countries were reviewed.

And, the results.

  • The average daily consumption of nuts was 67 grams of nuts.
  • Significant estimated reductions were achieved in…
    • Totalcholesterol (11 mg/dL [5% change])
    • LDL (bad) cholesterol (10 mg/dL [7%change])
    • Ratio of LDL-cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol (0.2 [8% change])
    • Ratio of totalcholesterol concentration to HDL-cholesterol (0.2 [6% change])
  • Triglyceride levels were significantly reduced21 mg/dL (10%) in patients with blood triglyceride levelsof at least 150 mg/dL but not in thosewith lower levels.
  • The effects of eating nuts were dose related.
  • Different types of nuts had similar effectson blood lipid levels.
  • Lipid-loweringeffects of nut consumption were greatest among patients withhigh LDL-cholesterol, low body mass index (BMI), and among thoseconsuming Western diets.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Nut consumption improves blood lipid levelsin a dose-related manner, particularly among subjects with higherLDL-C or with lower BMI.”

The findings support the FDA position of 2003, that peanuts and 9 tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, and walnuts) are appropriate when included as part of a diet containing 1 ounce of nuts per day to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic has specific recommendations to lower cholesterol, including nuts.

2/1/11 19:12 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.