Nuts Good For the Heart

Jun 25, 2002

A new study has found that men who eat nuts regularly have roughly half the risk of sudden cardiac death as those who don’t consume them. Nut consumption is also linked to cutting the odds of suffering other deadly heart trouble by 30 percent. A report on the findings appears in today’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nuts contain unsaturated fats that aren’t as hard on the arteries as their saturated siblings. Some nuts have other cardiac benefits. Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to boost cardiovascular health and which may prevent heart rhythm anomalies. They can also be a good source of nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium.

Researchers led by Dr. Christine Albert of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston compared nut consumption with heart-related ailments in 21,454 male doctors participating in the Physicians’ Health Study. The men, aged 40 to 84 at the start of the research project, were tracked for an average of 17 years.

Still, Dr. Frank Hu, a Harvard nutrition expert who has looked at the health benefits of nuts, doesn’t advise loading up on the high-calorie foods. Rather, Dr. Hu says, people should substitute nuts for less healthful ingredients in their diets, such as red meat or sugary snacks.

Nuts are now the nation’s second favorite snack food, behind popcorn, according to the Walnut Marketing Board in Sacramento, Calif

Moderator Comment: As the population ages and becomes
more health conscious, will consumers change their snacking habits?

Okay, yes. We did buy raw almonds and walnuts on our
last trip to the store. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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