Nuts are known for being good for weight loss, gut bacteria, and lowering your risk of diabetes. Now, new research shows that enjoying this healthy snack may also lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. The key is to crunch on them at least two times per week.
The August 2019 study, presented by the European Society of Cardiology, found that eating nuts at least twice per week is linked with a 17 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Researchers assessed the nut intake of 5,432 adults aged 35 and older with no history of heart disease. (These nuts included walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts.) Then, the scientists followed up with the participants or their family members every two years for about 12 years total.
By the end of the study, there had been 594 cases of coronary heart disease, 157 strokes, 179 deaths related to heart disease, and 458 deaths in general. Turns out, results showed that the participants who consumed nuts at least two times a week had the lowest risk of dying due to heart problems specifically.
"Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat and contain little saturated fat," said study author Noushin Mohammadifard, PhD, in a press release. "They also have protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, phytosterols, and polyphenols, which benefit heart health."
"Raw fresh nuts are the healthiest," added Dr. Mohammadifard. "Nuts should be fresh because unsaturated fats can become oxidised in stale nuts, making them harmful. You can tell if nuts are rancid by their paint-like smell and bitter or sour taste."
While some might balk at the calorie count on some nuts, it's worth noting that a standard serving size is usually quite small — just 1/4 cup in most cases. Just be sure you're picking raw nuts, not ones that have been caked in sugar or overloaded in salt. Adding this tiny amount over your morning oatmeal or afternoon yogurt can really make a big difference.
Yet another reason to be "nuts" about nuts!