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

The evidence to date

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 quality of the evidence was low (1).

Another meta-analyses, of 21 randomised controlled trials, involving a total of 1,652 study participants, found nut consumption, particularly pistachios, had a modest blood pressure lowering effect in people without type 2 diabetes (2).

Conversely, another systematic review and meta-analysis found no significant effect of tree nut consumption on blood pressure (although it found nuts improved lipids, including total and LDL-cholesterol, and other cardiovascular risk factors) (3).

So further research is needed into the effect of nuts on blood pressure.

Salted nuts and blood pressure

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 (4). In fact, the results showed that both the salted, roasted nuts and the raw nuts significantly reduced blood pressure.

As the average Australian eats almost double the sodium (salt) that is required for good health, until there is more research on salted nuts and blood pressure, choose unsalted nuts on a daily basis, and keep salted nuts for special occasions.

Nuts and heart health

Whilst the evidence for nuts on blood pressure needes to be investigated further, the evidence for nuts and heart health is strong.

Nuts have been linked with a 24% reduced relative risk of coronary heart disease and a 19% reduced relative risk of cardiovascular disease (5). 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 (6).


  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. 8(6):793-803. Erratum in: Adv Nutr, 2018. 9(2):163-4.
  2. Mohammadifard, N., et al. The effect of tree nut, peanut, and soy nut consumption on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr2015. 101(5): 966–82.
  3. Del Gobbo, LC., 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): 1347–56.
  4. Tey, S.L., et al., Do dry roasting, lightly salting nuts affect their cardioprotective properties and acceptability? Eur J Nutr, 2017. 56(3): 1025-36.
  5. 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): 207.
  6. 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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