Abstracted by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, from “Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels” in the May 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Posted June 4, 2010.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke cause nearly 38% of all deaths in the United States each year (1) and cost our healthcare system $403 billion (2) and $43 billion (3) each year, respectively. High total and LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride and low HDL cholesterol concentrations have been found to be independent risk factors for the development of CVD (4, 5). Now a new study (6) has found that nuts may benefit cholesterol health.
Research from 2005 (7) and 2008 (8) has shown that nuts help maintain cholesterol health. In this study, researchers looked at 25 nut consumption studies totaling 583 men and women with high cholesterol levels (236-259 mg/dL total cholesterol and 154-178 mg/dL LDL cholesterol levels) but not taking any prescription medications. They found that an average of 67 grams of nuts per day (about 2.4 ounces) for one month lowered total cholesterol by an average of 5.1% (10.9 milligram/deciliter) and lowered LDL cholesterol by 7.4% (10.2 mg/dL). Nut consumption also improved the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol by 8.3%, improved total HDL cholesterol by 5.6%, and reduced triglyceride levels by 10.2% (20.6 mg/dL).
Citing the above benefits to be due to improved blood vessel health (9), lower oxidative stress (10), and reduced levels of a protein called lipoprotein (a) (11), the researchers concluded that “Nut consumption (is associated with improvement in) blood lipid levels in a dose-related manner, particularly among subjects with higher LDL cholesterol levels or with lower BMI.”
- Heart disease and stroke statistics—2005 update. American Heart Association. Internet: http://www.americanheart.org/
- “Cardiovascular Disease Cost” posted on www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4475
- “Stroke Statistics” posted on www.theuniversityhospital.com/stroke/stats.htm
- Schaefer EJ. Lipoproteins, nutrition, and heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:191–212.
- Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation 2002;106: 2747–57.
- Sabate J. Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(9):821-827.
- Jerling JC. A systematic review of the effects of nuts on blood lipid profiles in humans. J Nutr. 2005 Sep;135(9):2082-9.
- Griel AE. A Macadamia Nut-Rich Diet Reduces Total and LDL-Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Men and Women. J. Nutr. 2008 138: 761-767.
- Ros E, Nu´n˜ezI,Pe´rez-Heras A, et al. A walnut diet improves endothelial function inhypercholesterolemicsubjects:arandomizedcrossovertrial.Circulation .2004; 109(13):1609-1614.
- DurakI,KöksalI,Kac¸mazM,Büyükkoc¸akS,CimenBM,OztürkHS.Hazelnutsupplementation enhances plasma antioxidant potential and lowers plasma cholesterol levels. Clin Chim Acta. 1999;284(1):113-115.
- Zambo´n D, Sabate´ J, Mun˜oz S, et al. Substituting walnuts for monounsaturated fat improves the serum lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic men and women: a randomized crossover trial. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(7):538-546.