Heart health? Use your nut
Studies show nuts contribute to heart health.
It’s well known that nuts pack a nutritional punch, and now there’s clear evidence they have exceptional heart benefits too after a full review of more than 100 academic studies.
The literature review, released by Nuts For Life Australia, concludes that a regular intake of nuts is associated with improvements in heart health, including coronary heart disease and lowering cholesterol.
Nuts are a unique wholefood with a wide range of cardio protectivenutrients including healthy fats, plant omega-3s and plant sterols. By eating a handful (30g) of nuts a day, as part of a healthy varied diet, consumers can be assured they are equipped with the nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart.
This is welcomed news for New Zealanders given more than 40 per cent of deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease – making it one of our biggest health problems.
‘‘While the nutrition community is well aware that nuts are packed with benefits, this literature review is very significant in collating the academic studies and demonstrating just how nuts contribute to heart health,’’ says New Zealand Nutrition Foundation dietitian Sarah Hanrahan.
Leading nutrition academic and review co-author Professor Linda Tapsell says the contribution of nuts to a healthy diet can be easily underestimated.
‘‘Nuts are often relegated to a snack food category and sometimes avoided by people trying to lose weight.
The benefits of heart health were observed without any adverse effects on weight gain and outcomes were shown to be sustained for periods as long as 20 years,’’ says Tapsell.
‘‘Like other plant foods, nuts deliver important components to the diet and, as such, they can easily be front of mind alongside fruit, vegetables and grains,’’ she adds.
Different tree nuts have a variety of nutritional profiles, but studies have concluded that almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts all contain the beneficial nutrients for heart health.
Eating nuts regularly is one tasty prescription to lower blood cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy heart.
Kiwis can celebrate their love for nuts on National Nut Day which falls on Tuesday, October 20.
Nuts have exceptional heart benefits so a handful of nuts a day can boost heart health.