Are you worried about your cholesterol? Increasing exercise, incorporating more fibre into your diet and including fish oils are all important measures to help with cholesterol management.
Two new studies show that some common nuts can also help. The first was a small study by Guarneiri et al (2021) on pecan nuts. 52 participants at risk of heart disease were divided into three groups. Two groups ate 68 grams of pecan nuts each day for eight weeks, either additional to their normal intake, or as a substitute for parts of their normal diet. Both groups saw similar reductions of 5% in cholesterol and between 6% and 9% in low density lipoproteins (LDL). Pecan nuts contain fibre and fats and so are a handy way of getting both into your diet.
If that many pecan nuts are too much for you, consider snacking on walnuts! A larger study by Rajaram et al (2021) with 636 participants aged between 63 and 79 found consuming half a cup of walnuts daily reduced LDL cholesterol. And if you are male, the results were even better! Men reduced their LDL by an average of 7.9% and women by 2.6% 50% of participants were already on statins and so had normal cholesterol levels. The authors hypothesise that the effects might be larger on a non-statin population.
Incorporating nuts into your diet is important as they help with fibre and essential oils, but two cautions! Buy nuts, which are ideally organic and avoid packs which include dried fruit as these can be high in sugar. Ideally limit intake in general to half a cup a day!
1. Liana L Guarneiri, Chad M Paton, Jamie A Cooper, 2021. Pecan-Enriched Diets Alter Cholesterol Profiles and Triglycerides in Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease in a Randomized, Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab248
2. Sujatha Rajaram, Montserrat Cofán, Aleix Sala-Vila, Ella Haddad, Mercè Serra-Mir, Edward Bitok, Irene Roth, Tania M. Freitas-Simoes, Amandeep Kaur, Cinta Valls-Pedret, Mónica Doménech, Keiji Oda, Dolores Corella, Joan Sabaté, and Emilio Ros (2021). Effects of Walnut Consumption for 2 Years on Lipoprotein Subclasses Among Healthy Elders: Findings From the WAHA Randomized Controlled Trial. Circulation. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.054051