Include Nuts in Your Diet to Help You Stay Healthy

8 June, 2020 , , ,

Several studies have suggested that eating nuts improves cardiovascular health and therefore reduces the risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases.

A new international study, including 123 329 participants aged 35 to 70 from 16 countries, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and confirms this correlation.

Among the team members who conducted this study were Dr. Gilles Dagenais and Dr. Paul Poirier, two cardiologists who are part of the Research Centre of the Quebec Heart and Lung University Institute, and who are associated with the PURE study (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology).

This observational study establishes an association between nut consumption and mortality reduction. Its main conclusion is that, regardless of the country in which you live, your lifestyle or diet, consuming nuts would reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases or other conditions.

Rich in vitamins (folate, niacin, vitamin E…), minerals (magnesium, potassium…), vegetable proteins, and dietary fibers, nuts are also rich in unsaturated fatty acids, and contain bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols.

Even if we do not know the exact mechanisms that make them an ally to our heart, their composition, especially in unsaturated fats, helps to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve the lipid profile. In this way, consuming nuts helps to lower levels of LDL, so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, and increase HDL levels, so-called ‘good’ cholesterol. This reduces the atherosclerosis process and thus reduces the risk of artery obstruction.

According to this study, a handful of nuts a day decreases, on average, bad cholesterol by 6%.

It was found that study participants who consumed a lot of nuts ( >120 g per week) saw a reduction in their risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases similar to those taking a statin medication.

Replacing store-bought ultra-processed foods, which are too fatty, too sweet, and too salty, with nuts, as a snack for example, reduces the glycemic load of the diet and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It is because they are beneficial to health and provide a large feeling of satiety that you will find nuts in our meal plans: both in meals and as a snack.

Even if trying to loose weight, don’t deprive yourself of the many health benefits of these precious allies. It is simply advisable to stick to one serving per day, for example 1/4 cup serving (between 25 and 35 g depending on the type).

If you’re allergic to nuts, you may not be allergic to all varieties. Otherwise seeds (lin, chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower) are also a nutritional treasure!

In order to derive the most benefits, consider varying the type (nuts from trees would have a stronger protective effect than peanuts for example), choose the unsalted and unsweetened varieties, and store them in an airtight container, in the refrigerator or freezer.


References

  • de Souza, Russell J., et al. “Association of nut intake with risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 16 countries from 5 continents: analysis from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2020).
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Author

Jennifer Morzier

Jennifer Morzier

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian graduated from the University of Montreal in December 2018 and is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ). She believes that the quality of our food choices has a direct impact on our health and energy level. Her goal? To help people improve the quality of what they put in their plates, for their better well-being and greater pleasure.

Jennifer Morzier

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