Nuts, blood lipids and cardiovascular disease

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Sabaté, J., M. Wien, 2010. Nuts, blood lipids and cardiovascular disease. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 19(1):131-136.

The aim of this paper is to evaluate nut-related epidemiological and human feeding study findings and to discuss the important nutritional attributes of nuts and their link to cardiovascular health. Frequent nut consumption has been found to be protective against coronary heart disease in five large epidemiological studies across two continents. A qualitative summary of the data from four of these studies found an 8.3% reduction in risk of death from coronary heart disease for each weekly serving of nuts. Over 40 dietary intervention studies have been conducted evaluating the effect of nut containing diets on blood lipids. These studies have demonstrated that intake of different kinds of nuts lower total and LDL cholesterol and the LDL: HDL ratio in healthy subjects or patients with moderate hypercholesterolaemia, even in the context of healthy diets. Nuts have a unique fatty acid profile and feature a high unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio, an important contributing factor to the beneficial health effects of nut consumption. Additional cardioprotective nutrients found in nuts include vegetable protein, fiber, α-tocopherol, folic acid, magnesium, copper, phytosterols and other phytochemicals.