Nuts and cardiovascular diseases

So far, five large cohorts studies (the Adventist Health Study, The Physicians' Health Study, The Iowa Women Health Study, the Nurses' health Study and the CARE study) have examined the relation between nut consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). All of them found a positive effect of nuts on CHD.

This is primarily due to the fat content of nuts. Monounsaturated fatty acids have a powerful effect on reducing blood level of both total and LDL cholesterol.

However, the favorable effects of nuts on CHD may also be due to other components. Indeed, nuts are rich in arginine. This amino acid is the precursor of a compound that can inhibit platelet adhesion and aggregation.

Magnesium, copper, folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamin E present in nuts may also have a role in preventing CHD.

The type of fat rather than the total amount of fat seems to predict risks of CHD.
Based on the data of the Nurses' Health Study, Frank Hu. et al. estimated that a 5 % replacement of energy from saturated fatty acids by unsaturated fats would reduce risk of CHD by 42 % and a 2 % replacement of energy from trans fat by unsaturated fats would reduces the risk by 53 %.

Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietitian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2002
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