Nuts are a time-honored component of the Mediterranean diet and may contribute to the lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the diet.
Regular nut consumption lowers total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) by 5 to 15%, which would tend to lower heart disease risk. Walnuts are particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.
Bix over at Fanatic Cook links to three scientific studies showing that walnuts:
- improved arterial function in people with type 2 diabetes
- improved arterial function in people with high cholesterol eating a Mediterranean diet
- decreased fasting insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes
- decreased LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes who were on a low-fat diet
The “dose” of walnuts in these studies was 1–2 ounces (28–56 g) daily.
For good reason, nuts have a prominent role in both the Advanced Mediterranean Diet and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.
I don’t know Bix, but he or she seems to base many of his/her nutrition opinions on scientific principles, which I appreciate.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Nut consumption is strongly linked to reduced coronary heart disease, with less rigorous evidence for several other health benefits, according to a recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
This is why I’ve included nuts as integral components of the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.
Regular nut consumption is associated with health benefits in observational studies of various populations, within which are people eating few nuts and others eating nuts frequently. Health outcomes of the two groups are compared over time. Frequent and long-term nut consumption is linked to:
- reduced coronary heart disease (heart attacks, for example)
- reduced risk of diabetes in women (in men, who knows?)
- less gallstone disease in both sexes
- lower body weight and lower risk of obesity and weight gain
The heart-protective dose of nuts is three to five 1-ounce servings a week.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Reference: Sabaté, Joan and Ang, Yen. Nuts and health outcomes: New epidemiologic evidence. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89 (2009): 1,643S-1,648S.