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Nuts, whole healthy nuts

Tuesday May 11th, 2010

People should eat more nuts to improve the health of their hearts, experts said last night.

A new analysis says eating nuts helps to improve cholesterol levels.

People who eat about two and a half ounces (67 grams) of nuts a day reduce cholesterol levels by about five per cent - and increase the levels of healthy cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, researchers found.

The findings led the British Heart Foundation to urge people to eat regular amounts of unsalted nuts.

Ellen Mason, a BHF nurse, said: "Apart from salted peanuts at the pub, nuts in sugary cereals or the traditional Christmas selection, nuts have been largely lacking in our diets in the UK.

"What we eat is extremely important to our overall health, and adding nuts back into our diet in place of saturated fats could help to improve cholesterol levels for many people.

"Lowering cholesterol is important as it reduces your risk of developing heart disease. However, too much salt isn't good either so go for unsalted nuts in small amounts."

Researchers studied the findings of some 25 trials of eating nuts, carried out in seven countries and involving nearly 600 people.

Dr Joan Sabaté, of Loma Linda University, California, USA, writes: "Nuts are a whole food that have been consumed by humans throughout history. Increasing the consumption of nuts as part of an otherwise prudent diet can be expected to favourably affect blood lipid levels (at least in the short term) and have the potential to lower coronary heart disease risk."

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(9):821-827

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Diet & Food | Heart Health | North America | UK News

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