In recent years, studies have increasingly suggested that consumption of nuts can boost heart health, as nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, protein, vitamin E, folate, and several minerals, such as potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Nuts also boast additional bioactive chemicals, including phenolics and phytosterols. A 2016 study in the British Medical Journal reinforced the assertion that “higher nut consumption is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, total CVD, CVD mortality, total CHD, CHD mortality and sudden cardiac death.” Another 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that diabetes risk drops by 40 percent with only 20 grams of nuts each day, and the risk of infectious diseases is lowered by 75 percent.
Yet while most of the findings stemmed from observational studies with limited sample sizes, a systematic review of clinical trials spanning the last 25 years has confirmed that nuts can indeed benefit cardiovascular health, optimize the aging process, and minimize the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Led by Marta Guasch-Ferré — a research associate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA — a team of scientists conducted a large-scale review of various studies that focused on the correlation between nut consuption and heart health. In a study last year, Guasch-Ferré referred to nuts as “natural health capsules.” The review, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evaluated 26 randomized trials: including 1,059 participants between ages between 22 and 75. Some of the study’s participants had conditions such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.