Next time you reach for your daily apple, pick up a handful of nuts as well. It could do your heart some good.
Scandinavian researchers recently reviewed 60 studies and found a strong association between nut consumption and heart disease and the risk of heart attacks.
They found that as little as a handful of nuts every day, which is about 30 grams, could lower the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease by 20 to 25 percent. They even said that more nuts are better and that eating just a few nuts per day is better than none.
Was there a magic nut to focus on? Not really, they said. Although almonds, pistachios, and walnuts appeared to be the best at lowering cholesterol. They still said they found no conclusive evidence to recommend some nuts over others.
That’s great news for you because you can pick the nuts that taste best to you and likely enjoy their heart health benefits. A couple of words of advice, though.
Although commonly thought of as a nut, peanuts are actually legumes. They are also extremely healthy and offer many of the benefits nuts do. However, they are not in the nut family.
Lastly, nuts dipped in chocolate, or candied would likely see their benefits nullified by the high levels of sugar in the candy. So if you’re going for some benefit from your nuts, select raw, roasted, and/or unsalted varieties without the candy layer.
Nuts seem to benefit cholesterol levels in the blood, which is important to keep low so fat does not build up in arterial walls – a process called atherosclerosis, which is one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks.
It’s important to note that the study did not prove that nut consumption improved cholesterol, just that there was a strong association.
It is also important to note that nuts can’t be used as a primary treatment for high cholesterol. They may, however, have the ability to help prevent high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease among the general population.