Research highlights the value of regular consumption of a variety of nuts associated with a lower risk of heart disease
The study examines the peanuts, the nuts, the nuts and the peanut butter and finds that the benefits vary by type.
Protecting My Heart by Regularly Consuming Dry Nuts
The article reports that a new research article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology states that people who frequently consume nuts have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The study observed a correlation between nut consumption and a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetic pressure. In addition, nuts are rich in antioxidants, proteins, and mineral nutrients, which may improve heart health and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
People who regularly eat nuts, including peanuts, walnuts and tree nuts, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease compared to people who never or almost never eat nuts, according to a study published today in Journal of the American College . Cardiology . The study is the largest to date to examine the frequency of nut consumption in relation to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Recently, dietary recommendations have shifted towards diets that include higher amounts of plant foods than animal foods, with most dietary patterns including nuts due to their association with reduced cardiovascular risk factors and unique dietary composition.
While many previous studies have focused on nut consumption as a whole, the researchers in this study also looked at the association between specific types of nuts - peanut butter, peanuts, tree nuts and tree nuts - with major cardiovascular events. Peanuts were included even though they are actually a legume because they have a similar fatty acid and nutrient profile to other nuts.
The study looked at over 210,000 people, including women from the study Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, with follow-up up to 32 years. In all three groups, information on medical history, lifestyle and health conditions was collected through self-administered questionnaires every two years.
The primary endpoint of the study was major cardiovascular disease, defined as a combined endpoint of myocardial infarction, stroke or fatal cardiovascular disease. The secondary endpoints were total coronary artery disease, defined as fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction and total stroke, which included all fatal and non-fatal strokes. The researchers recorded 14,136 cases of cardiovascular disease, including 8,390 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,910 cases of stroke.
The study found a consistent inverse relationship between total nut consumption and overall cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Also, after controlling for individual nut consumption, eating nuts one or more times per week was associated with 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Participants who ate peanuts or nuts two or more times per week had a 13 percent and 15 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, respectively, and a 15 percent and 23 percent, lower risk of coronary heart disease, respectively, compared with those who did not consume nuts.
Participants who consumed five or more servings of nuts per week had a 14 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease than participants who never or almost never consumed nuts. Results were similar when consumption of nuts, peanuts and tree nuts were accounted for individually. The researchers found no evidence of an association between total nut consumption and stroke risk, but peanut and walnut consumption was inversely associated with stroke risk. Peanut butter and nuts were not associated with stroke risk.
"Our findings support recommendations to increase the intake of a variety of nuts as part of healthy dietary patterns to reduce the risk of chronic disease in general populations," said Marta Guasch-Ferre, PhD, lead author of the study and research. fellow in the nutrition department at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
The study noted several limitations, including that the sample size was restricted to white health professionals. However, the researchers note that the results can be generalized to men and women of different ethnicities because there is no reason to expect the underlying mechanisms to be different. Also, because nut intake was self-reported, errors are unavoidable and there were no data on how the nuts were prepared, so it was not possible to control for the effect of preparation methods.
In an accompanying editorial commentary, the Emilio Ros, MD, PHD, of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona and a researcher at CIBEROBN, a research network of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain, confirmed that the consistency of the findings suggests an association between nut consumption and protection from heart disease, but there is more to research.
"Ideally, further research should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented in the usual diet on hard cardiometabolic events," Ros said. "In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unhulled or otherwise unprocessed, can be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular wellness and promote healthy ageing."
The American College of Cardiology is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The ACC leads the way in the development of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research, and grants credentials to cardiovascular specialists who meet rigorous qualifications. For more, visit acc.org.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology is ranked among the world's leading cardiovascular journals for its scientific impact. The JACC is the flagship for a family of magazines - JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions , JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging , JACC: Heart Failure , JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology and JACC: Basic to Translational Science - which prides itself on publishing leading research into all critical aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at JACC .org .