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Nuts and health - the latest research

Nuts and health - the latest research

24 June 2015

Nuts Linked To 40% Reduced Risk of Death from Heart Disease.

A meta-analysis, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found eating a handful of nuts a day reduced the risk of death from all-causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. (1)

In the first meta-analysis, of its type, researchers from Italy and USA examined seven studies with a total of 354,933 participants. (1) They found higher nut consumption, around 30 grams of nuts a day, was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease by 40%, all causes by 27% and cancer by 14%, when compared to participants who ate nuts less than once a week. (1)

New research - Handful of #nuts 30g a day shown to reduce risk of death from CHD by 40% https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25833976 @NutsForLife

Nutty Protection No Matter Your Race Or Wealth

A US study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, found people who eat a handful of nuts a day have a lower risk of death from heart disease no matter their race or socio-economic status.(2)

Previous research linking nut consumption with lower mortality primarily focused on higher-income, white populations. This study, by Vanderbilt University, USA, was the first to examine these effects in a variety of races and lower socioeconomic groups.(2)

The research was based on three large ongoing cohort studies including more than 70,000 Americans of African and European descent from the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), and more than 130,000 Chinese from the Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) and the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS) over 5-12 years follow up.(2)

The results showed higher daily nut intakewas significantly associated with a reduced risk of total mortality in all the cohorts 21% and 17% for the US and Shanghai cohorts respectively (all P?<0?.001 for trend).(2) There was also a 30-40% reduced risk of heart disease for all ethnic groups comparing highest to lowest nut consumers. Researchers concluded nuts could be a cost effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.(2)

Daily #nut intake linked to 30-40% red risk heart disease no matter race or socioeconomics https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25730101 @NutsForLife

Nut Enriched Diet Boost Brain Power

A Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts or olive oil has been shown to protect the brain from the effects of ageing.(3)

The trial - part of the PREDIMED Study - the world's most extensive study on the Mediterranean diet - tested the cognitive function of 334 older adults aged 55-80. The participants were divided into three groups - two groups followed the Mediterranean diet enrich with either 30 grams of mixed nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) a day, or five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day, the third group followed a lower-fat diet.(3)

After an average of just over four years following the diet, the results - published in JAMA Internal Medicine - showed those on either Mediterranean diet had signicantly improved cognitive function across all areas compared to the lower-fat diet group (P?<?0.05).3 In particular, those on the Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts had significantly better memory function, while frontal and global cognition improved in the olive oil group. Researchers concluded in an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts or olive oil is associated with improved cognitive function.(3)

New #PREDIMED study data: Medit diet + 30g/d nuts boosts memory and cognition in older adults https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961184 @NutsForLife

Eating Nuts, Milk and Fruit May Reduce Neural Tube Defects

Women in their first trimester of pregnancy who consume nuts, milk and fruit have been shown to have a lower risk of their baby having a neutral tube defects (NTDs).(4)

The Shandong University (China) study, published in the journal Nutrition, examined the diets 918 mothers - half with NTDs-affected births and half without NTDs-affected births.4 Maternal consumption of nuts, milk and fresh fruits in the first trimester was identified as a protective factor for total NTDs.(4)

The mothers who ate nuts more than seven times meals a week in the first trimester had a 37% reduced risk of total neural tube defects, compare to mother who ate nuts less than once a week.(4) Researchers suggest this effect may be due to the folate and dietary myo-inositol content of nuts.(4) Similarly those consuming milk and fruit more than seven times a week reported a 49% and 51% reduced risk of NTD respectively.

Spina bifida and anencephaly are the most common forms of NTD affecting about 1 in 500 pregnancies in Australia.(5)

New research - #nuts, milk and fruit eaten in 1st trimester linked to reduced risk of NTD https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25919306 @NutsForLife #pregnancy

Pistachios Pack A Hearty Punch

A large handful of pistachios a day has been shown to boost heart health in healthy adults by improving cholesterol and glucose levels as well as improving vascular stiffness and endothelial function.

The Indian study of 60 adults with mild high blood cholesterol placed half in a group who ate 40g of shelled pistachios a day and made lifestyle modifications such as exercise and the other half in a group that just observed the lifestyle modifications without eating pistachios. At the end of three months those eating pistachios reported significantly increased good HDL cholesterol by about 6% (P=0.04), reduced LDL cholesterol 7% (P=0.02), improved total cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratio by 8% (P=0.001) and improved fasting blood glucose by 2% (P=0.05), when compared to the non-pistachio group.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, also reported regularly eating pistachios had a significant improvements in vascular stiffness and endothelial function which is important for cardiovascular health.

 40g #pistachios a day improves cholesterol and endothelial function important for cardiovascular health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837212 @NutsForLife

Issued on behalf of Nuts For Life
Nuts for Life is Australia's leading nutrition authority on tree nuts and health. The nutrition education initiative promotes the health benefits of regular nut consumption in the Australian diet. It is funded by the Australian Tree Nut Industry and Horticulture Innovation Australia. Web - www.nutsforlife.com.au Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Nuts4Life  Twitter - @NutsForLife


1.    Grosso G et al. Nut consumption on all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr;101(4):783-93.
2.    Luu HN et al. Prospective Evaluation of the Association of Nut/Peanut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Mar 2. doi: 10.1001/ jamainternmed.2014.8347. [Epub ahead of print]
3.    Valls-Pedret  C et al. Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1668
4.    Wang M et al. Maternal consumption of non-staple food in the first trimester and risk of neural tube defects in offspring. Nutrition. 2015 May;31(5):678-85.
5.    NSW Health Neural Tube DefectsNeural Defects - Spina Bifida & Anencephaly Sheet 59 https://www.genetics.edu.au/Publications-and-Resources/Genetics-Fact-Sheets accessed 9 December 2014
6.    Kasliwal R et al. Effect of pistachio nut consumption on endothelial function and arterial stiffness. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 May 11. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1668


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