A new study suggests that eating a handful of nuts and seeds can reduce your risk of heart disease by 25%.
According to the study, nuts lower cholesterol levels and are linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
The researchers said nuts’ fatty acid composition is one reason.
While nuts cannot be used to treat high cholesterol, Erik Arnesen, research fellow at the University of Oslo, believes they can be used as a preventive measure.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 60 previous studies was conducted by researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
“Eating a handful of nuts every day, which is around 30 grams, can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 to 25%. Many people do not eat nuts or seeds at all,” Arnesen said in the journal Food & Nutrition Research.
Even though scientists say “the more the better”, eating a few nuts is better than none.
The best nuts for lowering cholesterol are almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, but according to Arnesen there is no conclusive evidence that suggests specific nuts are better than others.
Keeping cholesterol levels in the blood low is important to prevent the build-up of fat in the arteries, which results in atherosclerosis, a major cause of heart attacks.
The researchers were unsure, however, whether nuts reduce strokes and diabetes type 2.
“We’re not sure. Nuts don’t affect blood pressure, one of the risk factors behind strokes. We’re not sure whether nuts are good for blood sugar levels either, which are linked to type 2 diabetes,” Arnesen said.
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