Will eating nuts lower your risk of heart disease? Almonds and walnuts are the best studied, but most nuts and seeds should help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. That’s largely because they have considerably more LDL-lowering polyunsaturated fats than LDL–raising saturated fats, although other constituents, like plant sterols, may also help lower LDL.
Three nuts–Brazil nuts, cashews, and macadamias–have less polys or more sat fat or both. That’s why they didn’t get a Best Buy or Honorable Mention.
It’s not just LDL. In 2013, the PREIMED study reported that Spaniards who ate 120 calories a day of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts) for nearly five years had 30 percent fewer cardiovascular “events,” especially strokes. The study was stopped early, so it’s not a slam dunk.
Still lowering LDL is reason enough to add nuts to your diet, as long as you eat them instead of foods that are rich in saturated fat, sugar, or white flour.
Source: Nutrition Action Health Letter October 2015
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