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NutENews March 2018

Hello NutENews readers,

Welcome to our first issue for 2018!

We’re very excited to announce that our General Level Health Claim is now appearing on packs on your supermarket shelves. Read our feature article here.

And to kickstart the year, we’re showcasing some interesting research conducted in New Zealand amongst both health professionals, as well as the general population:


Here’s a snapshot of more of the latest research.

  • Cashew Nut consumption increases HDL cholesterol and reduces systolic blood pressure
  • Walnut consumption in a weight reduction intervention
  • Nut consumption and cardiovascular risk factors

RECIPE – We’re sharing a recipe from the Australian Macadamia Society – Brown Rice Super bowl with macadamia Za’atar will definitely get those tastebuds excited.

Don’t forget, for everything you want to know about nuts, or for images and other resources, please visit our website. You can also follow us on social media where we share recipes, tips and research updates.

Happy reading!!


Nuts for Life has been busy over the last year or so assisting our contributors in being able to make a General Level Health Claim relating to nuts and heart health.

Nuts have been in the limelight since the early 1990’s with the publication of two landmark studies showing the benefits of nuts for reduced risk of coronary heart disease, and for lowering blood cholesterol. Since then, a wealth of evidence has been published which has continued to support these findings.

As a result, Nuts for Life has worked with a team of researchers to pull this body of evidence together to be able to substantiate a nut and heart health general level health claim. The systematic literature review covers over 100 scientific papers published between 1966 – 2014. The systematic review was conducted in accordance with the methodology required by FSANZ for the self-substantiation of general level health claims.

The claim applies to unsalted, raw, dry or oil roasted nuts, either whole, or as pieces or pastes (nut butters).

We’re very proud to announce that the first few products using the nut heart health GLHC are now starting to appear on supermarket shelves. Below are just some examples.


Current nut recommendation practices differ between health professionals in New Zealand

Despite evidence linking regular nut consumption with reduced chronic disease risk, population-level intakes remain low. Research suggests nut-promoting advice from doctors facilitates regular nut consumption. However, there is no information on current nut recommendation practices of health professionals. The aim of the present study was to examine the advice provided by health professionals regarding nut consumption. Study participants (identified from the NZ electoral role) were invited to complete a survey including questions about their nut recommendation practices.

Results: In total 318 dietitians, 292 general practitioners and 149 practice nurses responded. Dietitians were more likely (82·7%) to recommend patients increase consumption of nuts than general practitioners (55·5%) and practice nurses (63·1%; both P<0·001). The most popular nuts recommended were almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts, with most health professionals recommending raw nuts. The most common recommendation for frequency of consumption by dietitians and practice nurses was to eat nuts every day, while general practitioners most frequently recommended 2-4 times weekly, although not statistically significantly different between professions. Dietitians recommended a significantly greater amount of nuts (median 30 g/d) than both general practitioners and practice nurses (20 g/d; both P<0·001).

Conclusion: Dietitians were most likely to recommend consumption of nuts in accordance with current guidelines, but there are opportunities to improve the adoption of nut consumption recommendations for all professions. This may be a viable strategy for increasing population-level nut intakes to reduce chronic disease.

How this compares with Australia

Nuts for Life has also been tracking the practices of health professionals over the last 10 years, with the latest research conducted in 2015. Whilst the questions we asked were not identical, here’s what our results show for similar questions:

  • 89% of dietitians agreed with the statement “eating nuts are very important and specifically recommend them to my clients”, compared to only 9% of GPs. In contrast, 76% of GPs agreed with the statement “eating nuts are OK in moderation but I don’t specifically recommend them to my clients”.
  • When asked about the recommended serving size, the majority of all health professionals indicated either 20g (27%) or 30g (38%).
  • In terms of frequency, 72% of all respondents indicated that we should be eating nuts at least once a week or more.

So similar to that conducted in New Zealand, our research indicates that dietitians were most likely to recommend consumption of nuts in accordance with current guidelines, but there are also opportunities to improve the adoption of nut consumption recommendations for all professions.

Barriers to and facilitators and perceptions of nut consumption among the general population in New Zealand

Objective: Despite considerable evidence supporting the health benefits of regular nut consumption, nut intakes remain lower than recommended among many populations. Understanding how the general population perceives nuts could inform strategies to promote regular nut consumption and increase intakes among the general public.

Participants were randomly selected from the NZ electoral roll and were invited to complete a questionnaire which included information on nut consumption and knowledge and perceptions of nuts.

Results: A total of 710 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate 44%). More than half of the respondents believed that nuts are healthy, filling, high in protein and high in fat. The most common reason cited by consumers for eating nuts was taste (86% for nuts, 85% for nut butters), while dental issues was the most frequent reason for avoidance. About 40% of respondents were not aware of the effects of nut consumption on lowering blood cholesterol and CVD risk.

Conclusions: Despite overall basic knowledge of the nutritional value of nuts, a substantial proportion of the general population was unaware of the cardioprotective effects of nuts. The present study identified common motivations for eating and avoiding nuts, as well as perceptions of nuts which could affect intake. These should guide the content and direction of public health messages to increase regular nut consumption. The public’s knowledge gaps should also be addressed.


Cashew Nut Consumption Increases HDL cholesterol and reduces systolic blood pressure in Asian Indians with type 2 Diabetes: a 12-week randomised controlled trial.

The study aimed to investigate the effects of cashew nut supplementation (30g/day) on glycemia, body weight, blood pressure, and lipid profile in Asian Indians with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).

Conclusion: Cashew nut supplementation in Asian Indians with T2DM reduced systolic blood pressure and increased HDL cholesterol concentrations with no deleterious effects on body weight, glycemia, or other lipid variables.

Walnut consumption in a weight reduction intervention: effects on body weight, biological measures, blood pressure and satiety

The objective of this study was to compare the effects of a walnut-enriched reduced-energy diet to a standard reduced-energy-density diet on weight, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and satiety.

Conclusions: The findings provide further evidence that a walnut-enriched reduced-energy diet can promote weight loss that is comparable to a standard reduced-energy-density diet in the context of a behavioural weight loss intervention. Although weight loss in response to both dietary strategies was associated with improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors, the walnut-enriched diet promoted more favourable effects on LDL-C and systolic blood pressure.

Nut consumption and cardiovascular risk factors: A cross-sectional study in a Mediterranean population.

The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with nut intake in a Mediterranean population, in Croatia, and to investigate the association of nut intake and various cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusions: It appears that frequent nut consumption is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and better socioeconomic status. A beneficial association of nut intake with cardiovascular risk factors was confirmed in this study.

So, there you have it – more evidence to support the fact that eating nuts is good for your health.
Encourage your friends and family, work colleagues and clients to eat at least a handful of nuts… every day.


Brown Rice Super Bowl with Macadamia Za’Atar brought to you by Australian Macadamia Society.
Not only is this a super bowl, but it’s super yummy and super good for you, and looks so good!


For the za’atar

  • 1 cup macadamias
  • ½ cup thyme leaves
  • ½ cup oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • For the super bowl 
  • 8 small beets, washed, trimmed and halved
  • ¼ medium sized Jap pumpkin, de-seeded, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 4 small sweet potatoes, halved lengthways
  • 1 bunch baby carrots, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon macadamia oil 
  • 1 cup brown rice, soaked overnight, drained
  • 3 teaspoons macadamia oil
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil such as light olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, blanched
  • 1 bunch silver beet, washed, stems removed
  • juice of half a lemon (or to taste)
  • 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
  • 2 avocadoes, halved, peeled and sliced
  • juice of half a lime (or to taste)
  • 16 macadamias, roasted


To make the za’atar, preheat oven to 180°C. Place the macadamias, thyme and oregano leaves on a tray. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, until macadamias are golden and leaves are crisp. Place in a small blender or mortar and pestle and add the sumac and salt. Pulse until a fine texture is achieved (do not over process as the mixture will stick together). Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

To make the super bowl, preheat oven to 180°C. Place the beets, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots on a baking tray and drizzle with macadamia oil. Roast for 30 minutes, until golden and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Cook the brown rice in a large pot of boiling water until tender and drain. Set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of macadamia oil and the vegetable oil in a wok and add the garlic, broccoli and silver beet and stir-fry until silver beet has completely wilted and broccoli is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Dress the watercress with remaining 1 teaspoon of macadamia oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Dress the sliced avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad by arranging all the ingredients into individual bowls. Sprinkle generously with the za’atar and roasted macadamias and serve immediately.


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