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Happy Healthy Valentines Day

12 February 2018


Eating a handful of nuts a couple of times a week can cut the risk of heart disease by almost a quarter, research has shown.

A study of over 200,000 people found those who ate walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans and peanuts two or more times a week were 23 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 15 per cent less likely cardiovascular disease.

The same amount of peanuts - which strictly speaking are a legume - also reduced the risk of the conditions by 15 and 13 per cent respectively.

Nuts have long been regarded a 'superfood' as they are high in antioxidants, proteins, nutrients, minerals and fibre.

Lead author Dr Marta Guasch-Ferre, a nutritionist at Harvard University in Boston, said: "Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations."

Over 210,000 female nurses and male health professionals in the US were followed for up to 32 years providing information about their medical history, lifestyle and illnesses via self-administered questionnaires every two years.

Dr Guasch-Ferre and colleagues identified 14,136 cases of major cardiovascular disease along with 8,390 of coronary heart disease and 5,910 of stroke - some of which were fatal.

Dr Emilio Ros, of the Endocrinology and Nutrition service at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona reviewed the results for the journal and said their consistency suggests nuts really do protect against heart5 disease.

He said: "Ideally further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardiometabolic events.

"In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging."

Cardiovascular diseases are conditions such as heart disease and strokes which involve a reduced blood flow to the heart, brain or body due to a blockage or narrowing of the arteries.

Coronary heart disease is when fatty substances in the walls of the arteries and affects 2.3 million people in Britain - causing 69,000 heart attacks each year.

Heart disease remains the number one killer in the UK with 160,000 people dying from it each year.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director of the British Heart Association, said: "This large study supports previous research that suggests that people who regularly eat raw nuts have a lower risk of developing heart disease.

"However, there could be many reasons for this, including the possibility that people who eat plain nuts are more likely to have better diets overall.

"It is important people distinguish between plain and flavoured nuts when planning a healthy diet.

"This study focused on the intake of raw, often unprocessed nuts, which are very different to roasted and salted nuts that often come higher in salt and sugar."

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


Posted: 12/02/2018 14:02:26 by Katie Smith

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