This week I was invited to a media launch, by Nuts for Life Australia. The purpose of the launch, was to feature a new research paper  conducted at the university of Wollongong by Professor Linda Tapsell and her team.
It was a large-scale study, what we call a systematic literature review. Which, in essence looks at all the studies from around the world and pools the data into one big mega study to see what the body of research is saying, about a particular topic, there was a large gathering present at the ceremony, thanks to the digital media marketing which enabled us to gather such a gathering in short span of time.
Eating nuts is good for your heart
Regular nuts consumption should be part of a healthy diet and has been associated with a reduced risk heart disease and of death. This is according to a review  of over 100 studies spanning over the last 20 years.
Nuts can lower “bad” cholesterol LDL by 3.5%. Nuts also protect through a number of mechanisms, such as fiber content and the type of fat they contain. Nuts are very high in our mono and poly unsaturated fats, which we know has a positive effect on health. Mono unsaturated fats and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid -plant based omega-3) in particular have been associated with reduced heart disease risk. In other words nuts are good for your heart.
Here’s a clever stat 40g of pistachios  a day improves cholesterol and endothelial function important for cardiovascular health. The study  actually found that regular nut consumption reduced the risk of coronary heart disease ad cardiovascular events by 30%! Pass the almond jar por favor!
The fat quality and fibre in the nuts contributes to good bowel health, heart health, blood glucose management and weight control. A lot of weight loss diets blame nuts for weight gain. Professor Linda Tapsell and her team also looked at nut consumption and affect on weight. The outcome may surprise you. Regular nut consumption never has been associated with weight gain.
The myth behind nuts and weight gain simply came about by people putting two and two together. People make the assumption that because nuts are high in calories they must contribute to weight gain, this has never been proven through research. Because nuts are high in calories, dieters assume that they cause weight gain, but they don’t. Regular nut eaters tend to have lower BMI’s than non-nut eaters. It is difficult to over consume nuts because of their satiety (fullness) factor.
Note this research isn’t excusive to almonds (common dieters choice) it includes all nuts. Just in case you where thinking to leave out peanuts because they are a legume! Peanuts are healthy! Nuts are a whole food and all nuts should be part of a healthy diet. In addition to this nut eaters tend to eat healthier than non-nut eaters, Professor Linda Tapsell thinks this may be because of the satiating effect of the nut itself. Nuts make you feel full and hence you don’t over eat.
How many nuts should you have?
A serving size of nuts is 30g, however researchers think that this is an arbitrary number. Considering we don’t absorb a large portion of calories from nuts, and nuts are great for health, maybe we are restricting were we don’t need to be?
I personally eat way more than 30g! I put nuts in everything and I snack on nuts throughout the day. My favourite nuts are pecans and pistachios… actually I love them all! Nuts are great in smoothies and perfect on warm toast in the form of almond butter. How do you eat your nuts?