Eating just 1.5 ounces of tree nuts a day can improve our health. Nuts can lower our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
“You’re gonna love my nuts.” Those words have become forever associated with an uber enthusiastic guy pitching a chopping device on a now infamous television commercial. But there really is a lot to love about nuts—particularly tree nuts—when it comes to our health.
Nuts for health
A study of over 13,000 men and women published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition compared the risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in nut eaters and nut abstainers.
Those who ate tree nuts enjoyed higher levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation and a precursor to many chronic diseases, including heart disease.
Nut lovers enjoyed other health benefits, including
- lower average weight of 4.19 pounds
- lower body mass index (BMI)
- smaller waist circumference
They also had a 5 percent lower incidence of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome encompasses a group of four risk factors that increase our risk for stroke, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Eating nuts contributed to:
- lower abdominal fat
- lower blood pressure
- lower blood sugar levels
- higher “good cholesterol” levels
The best nuts
Researchers recommend eating 1.5 ounces of tree nuts each day, including:
The study showed that nutrient intakes and diet quality were significantly improved when people ate nuts. Nut lovers were more likely to eat greater amounts of whole grains and fruits, and less sodium, solid fats, alcohol, and added sugar for a healthier diet overall.