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NutENews – December 2016

happy_christmas Welcome to another edition of NutENews. As 2016 winds to a close we would like to wish all our NutENews readers and supporters a warm Seasons Greetings and a Merry Christmas.

Thank you for your support over 2016 and we look forward to bringing more nut stories across your desk in 2017.
To finish the year our feature article, by our Consultant Dietitian Belinda Neville, showcases how nuts are good for so many different parts of the body. There’s no doubt that nuts are one of those essential plant foods we must include in our every day diet. To start why not share a gift of homemade spiced nuts (see recipe below) in a fancy jar to your friends and loved ones.
Here’s to a fab 2017

Lisa Yates
Program Manager and Adv APD Nuts for Life

Feature article

6 ways nuts are good for the body

There are so many good reasons to eat a handful of nuts on a daily basis. Here’s why…

info Brain

Walnuts look like a brain so are they good brain food? Oxidative stress and inflammation can lead to neuro-degeneration and cognitive decline. Research shows a walnut rich diet is good for brain health[1]. Antioxidant polyphenols and forms of vitamin E in walnuts can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. The polyunsaturated fats in walnuts also help to maintain brain neuron integrity and can weaken the protein aggregation involved in Alzheimer’s disease. A large population study recently found about 10g of walnuts a day of was positively associated with cognitive function amongst adults aged 20-59 years, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity [2]. Researchers suggested a daily serve of walnuts is a good choice for brain health.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people aged over 50 years. It damages the macula, a small yellow spot near the centre of the retina and the part needed for sharp, central vision. The Blue Mountains study [3], which investigated over 2,400 elderly Australians, followed up at both 5 years and 10 years, showed that 1-2 serves of nuts per week was associated with reduced risk of incident early AMD. Similarly, another Australian study concluded that food patterns high in nuts (along with other healthy foods) is associated with a lower prevalence of advanced AMD [4]. So it’s a matter of seeking nuts and enjoying them regularly.


A daily handful of nuts can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by helping to control cholesterol. A meta-analysis combining the results of 25 nut and cholesterol lowering studies showed around two handfuls of nuts a day (67g on average) significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol by 5% and 7% respectively [5]. This is supported by a more recent review of 61 trials finding that eating more than 60g of nuts per day lowers total and LDL cholesterol [6].

Blood vessels

From reducing atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries to vascular reactivity, nuts also help to protect blood vessels. PREDIMED – a large, five year study – found a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or 30g of mixed nuts a day (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) significantly reduced blood pressure; decreased fasting glucose; increased insulin sensitivity; reduced inflammatory biomarkers such as cytokines; reduced oxidised LDL cholesterol and reduced fasting triglycerides.[8] All biomarkers which affect blood vessels. Nut antioxidants helps reduce other inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein[9] and improve endothelial function or the elasticity of blood vessels.[10]


Our health is closely tied to the community of bacteria that lives in our intestine – the gut microbiome. Researchers assumed gut bacteria is only needed to help keep the colon healthy but we are now learning how gut bacteria impacts inflammation and chronic disease, such as obesity. Foods effect, not just the amount of, but also the type of bacteria in the gut, and nuts are one of these foods. Nuts are food (prebiotics) for the bacteria (probiotics). Nut skins in particular are rich in fibre and phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[11] Emerging research has found raw and roasted almonds increase gut bacteria growth.[12][13] Raw almonds stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectal bacteria, which lead to increased butyrate production – a short chain fatty acid which is thought to keep colon cells healthy.[13] Those of us colonised with Faecalibacterium, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria have significantly less risk of developing obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.[15-17] These species produce high levels of lactate, propionate and butyrate short chain fatty acids [16] which impact on inflammation. Inflammation is linked to insulin resistance, which consequently leads to weight gain. There is so much left unanswered but this new area of study offers promising results. Until such time, healthy diets need to be high in fibre and include amongst other foods – nuts, to provide sources of prebiotics to positively influence the gut microbiome.


Contrary to what a lot of people still believe, nuts do not cause weight gain despite their high fat content. In both large population based studies and clinical trials, nut consumption is positively associated with weight management, particularly prevention of weight gain. A systematic literature review which analysed 68 intervention studies found consuming 15-126g nuts a day was associated with a small reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference of 0.32%, 0.67% and 0.84% respectively but clearly no weight gain.[18] Here’s six ways nuts effect weight[19]:

  • Nuts help control appetite – healthy fats release satiety hormones in the intestine; fibre and protein act to satisfy hunger – so reducing our overall desire to eat.
  • Nuts reduce energy absorption – Up to 15% of the energy in nuts is excreted, with studies finding nut eaters excrete more fat in their stools, meaning less fat and energy is absorbed.
  • Nuts increase metabolism – Up to 10% of the energy in nuts is used up digesting nuts.
  • Nuts exert a low glycemic index (GI) effect when added to meals – fat and protein slow the digestion of a carbohydrate rich meal, resulting in a slower rise in blood glucose and satisfying the appetite for longer
  • Nuts improve insulin sensitivity – Insulin resistance is linked to weight gain. Nuts reduce insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Nuts are enjoyable – You’re more likely to stick to weight management meal plans if they taste good. People considered nuts palatable and enjoyable so are more likely to comply with their diet plans for longer achieving greater success.

Breakout box

When was the last time you stopped by Storehouse and had a read of the quality nutrition information we stock from over 100 Australian qualified dietitian and nutritionist bloggers? Please drop by you’re bound to find something of interest from nutrition and health advice, to recipes, to new food products, to cafe and restaurant reviews to to to…

Breakout box

The most popular section of our website is our Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. If you’re looking for answers we have them. Are roasted nuts better than raw, what is the best nut, should we activate our nuts – all the answers are here:


Christmas recipe

Christmas Spiced Nuts

4 cups mixed nuts or ½ cups of 8 varieties
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 160C. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with your hands, making sure nuts are coated well. Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook for 25 minutes until golden. Cool completely and serve. Keep in airtight jar for up to 1 week.

Serves 16 – 34g nuts per serve

NUTRIENT content per serve – (40g per serve)

Energy 950kJ, Protein 5g, Fat 21g (Saturated fat 2g), Carbohydrate 3g, Sugars 2g, Fibre 3g, Sodium 6mg


  1. Poulose, S.M. et al.  Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. J Nutr. 2014; 144(4 Suppl): p. 561s-566s.
  2. Arab, L. et al.  A cross sectional study of the association between walnut consumption and cognitive function among adult US populations represented in NHANES. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015; 19(3): p. 284-90.
  3. Tan, J.S. et al. Dietary fatty acids and the 10-year incidence of age-related macular degeneration: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009; 127(5): p. 656-65.
  4. Amirul Islam, F.M. et al.  Dietary patterns and their associations with age-related macular degeneration: the Melbourne collaborative cohort study. Ophthalmology. 2014; 121(7): p. 1428-1434.e2.
  5. Sabate, J. et al.  Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010; 170(9): p. 821-7.
  6. Del Gobbo, L.C. et al.  Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102(6): p. 1347-56.
  7. Nuts for Life. Nutrient Composition Ready Reckoner. 2016
  8. Yu Z et al. Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Sep;104(3):722-8.
  9. Barbour JA et al. Nut consumption for vascular health and cognitive function. Nutr Res Rev. 2014 Jun;27(1):131-58.
  10. Ros, E.  Nuts and CVD. Br J Nutr. 2015; 113 Suppl 2: p. S111-20.
  11. Mandalari, G. et al.  In vitro evaluation of the prebiotic properties of almond skins (Amygdalus communis L.). FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2010; 304(2): p. 116-22.
  12. Liu, Z. et al.  In vitro and in vivo evaluation of the prebiotic effect of raw and roasted almonds (Prunus amygdalus). J Sci Food Agric. 2016; 96(5): p. 1836-43.
  13. Mandalari, G. et al.  Potential prebiotic properties of almond (Amygdalus communis L.) seeds. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008; 74(14): p. 4264-70.
  14. Ukhanova, M. et al.  Effects of almond and pistachio consumption on gut microbiota composition in a randomised cross-over human feeding study. Br J Nutr. 2014; 111(12): p. 2146-52.
  15. Kootte, R.S. et al.  The therapeutic potential of manipulating gut microbiota in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2012; 14(2): p. 112-20.
  16. Ley, R.E. et al.  Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature. 2006; 444(7122): p. 1022-3.
  17. Le Chatelier, E. et al.  Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature. 2013; 500(7464): p. 541-6.
  18. Neal, E. et al.  The effect of nut consumption on heart health: a systematic literature review. 2015. Nuts for Life, unpublished. Summary avaialble
  19. Nuts for Life literature review summary Nuts and the Big Fat Myth 2016, Nuts for Life

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