No Nuts About It!!
people often think of nuts as a high-fat snack they ought to steer
clear of, recent studies reveal a surprising parallel between the
consumption of certain nuts and a lowered risk of coronary heart
University's Nurses' Health Study observed the diet of over 86,000
nurses from the ages of 34 to 59, for 10 years. Women who eat more than
five ounces of nuts a week (including peanuts/peanut butter) have a 35
percent reduction in risk of total coronary heart disease, compared to
women who eat only one ounce of nuts a month or none at all, according
to Dr. Frank Hu, lead author and research associate at the Harvard
School of Public Health, and principal investigator of the study.
Several theories explain why nuts are beneficial to coronary health.
Nuts have a heart-healthy fat profile. They are a good source of
unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and
contain little saturated fat. As a plant-based food they contain
absolutely no cholesterol.
Most nuts are a rich source of the amino acid arginine, a precursor of
nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps increase blood flow to the heart and
helps inhibit blood clotting.
Nuts contain significant amounts of magnesium, vitamin E, fiber,
copper, potassium, and alpha-linoleic acid — all of which are
beneficial to coronary health.
which heart-healthy diets have been supplemented with relatively large
amounts of almonds have shown significant reductions in total blood
cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the so-called "bad
cholesterol") levels, but preservation of high-density lipoprotein (the
"good cholesterol") levels.
other heart risk factors — such as age, smoking, eating fresh
fruits and vegetables, exercise, and intake of vitamin supplements
— were taken into consideration, the results remained the same.
becoming increasingly clear that the evidence for heart-healthy
benefits from nuts is mounting," said Hu. "Americans should stop being
afraid of nuts and learn to fit this nutrient-rich and likely
cardioprotective food into their diets."
For additional information or recipe ideas, check out the Peanut Institute Web site at www.peanut-institute.org.