An analysis of 25 studies conducted by a team at the US Loma Linda University in California has concluded that eating nuts may help to lower the risk of heart disease by positively influencing blood lipids (fats) and lowering cholesterol. The research reported that an average intake of 67 grams of nuts every day resulted in an average reduction of individual’s LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol of 7.4 percent. The studies ranged from three to eight weeks in duration.
Angela Berrill, Director at ABC Nutrition says this study reinforces the important role nuts can play when included as part of a healthy, balanced everyday diet, particularly in relation to their impact on heart health.
“We have seen significant results from these types of studies that supports the idea that nuts can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by favourably improving blood lipid levels. However, while daily consumption of nuts may be beneficial for your heart, it’s best to choose nuts which are not roasted, salted or sugar-coated.”
In 2003 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a daily intake of 42.5 grams of good nuts in order to reduce the risk of heart disease.
“Including nuts into our daily diets is one way Kiwis can get on board to help protect themselves,” says Angela
With one in five people believing all fats are bad, and 20 percent mistakenly cutting all fat from their diet, education around the benefits of good fats is essential for making people aware of how diet can affect the health of their heart.
"Nuts contain mostly polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats rather than saturated fat, and because they contain fibre and protein, nuts can help you feel fuller for longer," says Angela.
The New Zealand Heart Foundation says heart health should be a focus for every Kiwi, young or old. Most people don’t realise cardiovascular disease – including heart disease and stroke – kills more New Zealanders than any other.
“A healthy and nutritious diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and good fats from a balanced amount of nuts and seeds is an easy and simple way Kiwis can look after their heart health and get the most out of life,” it says.
The Heart Foundation's Annual Appeal is this week.