Despite the favourable effects that nuts have on heart health, there is limited evidence on their effect on blood pressure.

A systematic review and meta-analysis which summarised the evidence in relation to food groups and the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), concluded that a daily handful of nuts was associated with a 30% reduced relative risk of hypertension. However, the authors noted the low quality of the evidence [1].

Another interesting area of research is the impact of salted nuts on blood pressure. A study comparing the effects of salted, roasted nuts with raw nuts on heart health indicators including blood pressure, found that the addition of salt did not affect blood pressure [2]. In fact, the results showed that both the salted, roasted nuts and the raw nuts significantly reduced blood pressure. It’s likely all the nutrients in nuts work together to generate positive outcomes just as all foods in healthy diets work together to generate positive outcomes.

However, until there is more research, it’s probably best to enjoy salted nuts on special occasions as healthier party foods.

Whilst the evidence for nuts on blood pressure is somewhat lacking, the evidence for nuts and heart health is abundant. Nuts are associated with a 24% reduced relative risk of coronary heart disease and a 19% reduced relative risk of cardiovascular disease [3]. A causal relationship between nut intake and heart health indicators, including reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio has also been established [4].

References

  1. Schwingshackl L., et al., Food Groups and Risk of Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Adv Nutr. 2017 Nov 15;8(6):793-803. Erratum in: Adv Nutr. 2018 Mar 1;9(2):163-164.
  2. 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.
  3. Aune, D., et al., Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med, 2016. 14(1): p. 207.
  4. Neale, E., et al., The effect of nut consumption on heart health: an updated systematic review of the literature. 2018. Nuts for Life, unpublished.
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