Eating Nuts Can Reduce High Cholesterol
How can you argue with this? A new study finds that eating nuts on a daily basis can reduce high cholesterol levels and cuts the risk of coronary heart disease. It's the best evidence yet that eating nuts might just take down those cholesterol numbers while also contributing to keeping your heart healthy.
The research team examined the data from 25 studies on nut consumption that included 583 men and women who all had different cholesterol levels. Most studies lasted from three to eight weeks and included almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. None of the subjects were taking any cholesterol lowering medications during the study period.
The subjects ate an average of 67 grams (2.4 ounces or 1/3 of a cup) of nuts each day. This resulted in an average 5.1% reduction in total cholesterol concentration, a 7.4% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an 8.3% cut in the ratio of LDL to HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
What's more, the triglyceride measurements declined by 10.2%, but only among those who had high triglyceride numbers at the start. The effects on cholesterol of eating nuts were the same in men and women, but were shown to be dose related. HDL cholesterol concentrations were not affected by nut consumption.
The effects of eating nuts daily were most prevalent among those with higher baseline LDL numbers who were not overweight but were eating a Western diet.
It's important to recognize that the study was funded, in part, by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation. Some of the researchers have received funding form other organizations involved in the promotion of nuts in the diet.
We all know nuts are tasty, but they're also a fabulous source of protein, while being rich in fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. High in calories and fats (the good kind like omega-3s) this crunchy, delicious food is a healthy addition to your diet, in moderation of course, especially if you're the one in six American adults who are dealing with high cholesterol numbers today.
Back in 2003 the US Food and Drug Administration allowed the use of a qualified health claim on seven different types of nuts that reads, "Evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol reduces coronary heart disease risk. " You will see this on almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, some pine nuts and walnuts.
You can add nuts of all kinds to the foods and recipes (your own or new ones you find online) you enjoy today – they bring a tasty crunch to veggie dishes, pasta or rice, are delicious sprinkled over a salad, in yogurt or your morning cereal. You can even bag up a small serving as a snack to eat on the go.
No matter how you enjoy them, eating nuts are the rare food that tastes good and, as they can reduce high cholesterol, is good for you too.