Health Benefits of Nut Consumption

Pubblicato: novembre 16, 2012 in health, nutrition

Emilio Ros
Lipid Clinic, Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Institutd’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pii Sunyer, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona and Ciber Fisiopatología de la Obesidady Nutrición (CIBERobn), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain

Abstract: Nuts (tree nuts and peanuts) are nutrient dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty and other bioactive compounds: high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds. By virtue of their unique composition, nuts are likely to beneficially impact health outcomes. Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders and diabetes in women. Limited evidence also suggests beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer, and inflammation. Interventional studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect, even in the context of healthy diets, and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome also appear to be positively influenced by nut consumption. Thus it is clear that nuts have a beneficial impact on many cardiovascular risk factors. Contrary to expectations, epidemiologic studies and clinical trials suggest that regular nut consumption is unlikely to contribute to obesity and may even help in weight loss. Safety concerns are limited to the infrequent occurrence of nut allergy in children. In conclusion, nuts are nutrient rich foods with wide-ranging cardiovascular and metabolic benefits, which can be readily incorporated into healthy diets.

Average nutrient composition of nuts (per 100 g)


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Calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium content of nuts and other foods in mg/100 g of edible portion

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Results of prospective studies of nut consumption and risk of death from coronary heart disease

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Results of prospective studies of nut consumption and risk of diabetes. The two
US studies considered the frequency of consumption of all nuts, including peanuts, while
the Chinese study considered exclusively quintiles of peanut consumption in grams/day

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LDL-cholesterol response to nut feeding by baseline LDL-cholesterol level and
BMI. Data from a pooled study of 25 nut feeding trials

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Nuts are energy dense foods rich in bioactive macronutrients, micronutrients and phytochemicals.
The unique composition of nuts is critical for their health effects. Indeed, there are consistent
evidences from epidemiologic and clinical studies of the beneficial effects of nut consumption on risk
of CHD, including sudden cardiac death, as well as on diabetes in women, and on major and emerging
cardiovascular risk factors, as summarized in the following

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