Nuts are an important component of a healthy diet. They are nutrient dense, rich in essential vitamins, minerals, mono- and polyunsaturated (healthy) fats, protein and fibre. Tree nuts are naturally gluten-free, low in sodium, and contain no added sugar.

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In the context of a healthy diet, regular nut consumption is associated with a range of evidence-based health benefits.

Nuts are vital for heart health

Current evidence suggests that regular nut intake can improve several indicators of heart health including total and LDL cholesterol, and can reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease[1]. Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and contain Vitamin E, antioxidants, folate, arginine and plant sterols – all of which contribute to better heart health.

Nuts may reduce the risk of diabetes

Nuts contain nutrients and bioactive substances such as healthy fats, fibre and polyphenols that can help improve insulin function, as well as reducing the rise in blood glucose after eating[2]. They also contain magnesium, and a diet high in magnesium has been linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Nuts help control body weight

Eating nuts regularly, when incorporated into a healthy diet does not result in weight gain[3] and can actually help you maintain a healthy body weight[4]. The healthy fats, fibre and protein help to satisfy hunger and reduce appetite, whilst the oils in the nuts help release satiety hormones in the digestive system which help to tell you when you’re full. Nut eaters also excrete more fat in their stools.

Other health benefits

Nuts consumption can have health benefits for gut[5], brain[6,7], and eye health[8]. Nuts can reduce the risk of developing cancer[1] and can reduce inflammation.

References

  1. 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 metaanalysis of prospective studies. BMC Med, 2016. 14(1): p. 207.
  2. Afshin, A., et al., Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr, 2014. 100(1): p. 278-88.
  3. Neale, E., et al., The effect of nut consumption on heart health: an updated systematic review of the literature. 2018. Commissioned report for Nuts for Life, University of Wollongong.
  4. Li, H., et al., Nut consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome and overweight/obesity: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized trials. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2018. 15: p. 46.
  5. Lamuel-Raventos, R.M. and M.S. Onge, Prebiotic nut compounds and human microbiota. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2017. 57(14): p. 3154-3163.
  6. O’Brien, J., et al., Long-term intake of nuts in relation to cognitive function in older women. J Nutr Health Aging, 2014. 18(5): p. 496-502.
  7. Gignac, F., et al., Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain. Eur J Epidemiol, 2019.
  8. Dinu, M., et al., Food groups and risk of age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Eur J Nutr, 2018.
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