No, salted nuts are not bad for you as they still contain all the nutrition and health benefits of raw or natural nuts, they just have a higher sodium content. However, whilst the salt in a handful of nuts is pretty small, as a nation, we consume too much salt. Therefore, we recommend unsalted nuts as your everyday nut, saving salted nuts for special occasions. 

In general, a diet high in sodium can increase blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).  Some new research however, has found participants given salted nuts as part of a healthy diet had the same health benefits of unsalted nuts with no rise in blood pressure [1, 2]. It’s possible all the other heart healthy nutrients in nuts (healthy fats, arginine, fibre, antioxidants: vitamin E, copper, manganese, selenium and polyphenols) offset any negative effects of salt. And because people like the taste of salted nuts, they are likely to consume nuts more often instead of other unhealthy snack foods.

At this stage, until more research is conducted, we recommend making raw or roasted unsalted nuts your everyday nut choice, and enjoy salted nuts as a healthier party food alternative.

References

  1. Tey, S.L., et al., Do dry roasting, lightly salting nuts affect their cardioprotective properties and acceptability? Eur J Nutr, 2017. 56(3): p. 1025-1036.
  2. West, S.G., et al., Diets containing pistachios reduce systolic blood pressure and peripheral vascular responses to stress in adults with dyslipidemia. Hypertension, 2012. 60(1): p. 58-63.
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