Gobbling Up Pecans Helps Fight High Cholesterol
March 20, 2000 — People concerned about their cholesterol levels no longer have to pass on pecans. Researchers at New Mexico State University have discovered that gobbling down as much as two fistfuls per day of the smooth, oblong nut can lower low-density lipoprotein — the ‘bad’ cholesterol linked to heart disease.
“We discovered that pecans can have a place in a healthy diet,” lead researcher Wanda A. Morgan, PhD, RD, tells WebMD. “Pecans, in balance and moderation with other foods, can help protect us against heart disease.” The study appears in the March 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The Western Pecan Growers Association funded the study.
According to the National Institute of Health , a high level of LDL–cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of fatty deposits forming in the arteries, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack. Thus, LDL-cholesterol has been dubbed ‘bad’ cholesterol. At the same time, an elevated level of high-density lipoprotein — HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol — seems to have a protective effect against heart disease.
While fat from pecans may be OK, calories are another story. Morgan says three-quarters of a cup of pecans contains 459 calories. Still, no significant weight gain was seen among the study participants.
Morgan says future research will focus on smaller amounts of pecan consumption. “We want to find out if the cholesterol benefit carries through at lower levels,” she explains.
What Nuts Are High In Cholesterol
Its not a mystery that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US and worldwide.
Coronary heart disease , the most common type of heart disease, affects over 18.2 million adults and has been linked to high levels of bad cholesterol.
Are nuts high in this bad cholesterol, and can you get away with daily small portions?
Nuts are low in cholesterol, and since most of them have none, they are extremely good for heart health.
When introduced into a balanced diet, they can help you lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in your blood thanks to their unsaturated fat content.
The cholesterol level should be checked and monitored throughout your life, but a balanced and nutritious diet can help you better manage your levels.
Nutrient Content Of Nuts
Nuts are clearly nutrient dense foods. With the exception of chestnuts, which contain little fat, nuts have a high total fat content, ranging from 46% in cashews and pistachios to 76% in macadamia nuts, and they provide 20 to 30 kJ/g . Thus, nuts are one of the natural plant foods richest in fat after vegetable oils. However, the fatty acid composition of nuts is beneficial because the saturated fatty acid content is low and nearly half of the total fat content is made up of unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fatty acids MUFA in most nuts, similar proportions of MUFA and polyunsaturated fatty acids , mostly linoleic acid, in Brazil nuts, a predominance of PUFA over MUFA in pine nuts, and mostly PUFA, both linoleic acid and -linolenic acid , the plant omega-3 fatty acid, in walnuts . With regard to walnuts, it must be underlined that they are a whole food with the highest content in ALA of all edible plants . As discussed below, the particular lipid profile of nuts in general and walnuts in particular is likely to be an important contributor to the beneficial health effects of frequent nut consumption.
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Better For Your Bones Than Dairy
Almonds are actually a great source of calcium better for your bones, according to Harvard research, than dairy. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine explains:;
A;12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke;more;bones than women who rarely drank milk.;Similarly, a 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with;increased;fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.
This means that almond milk is actually an optimal choice for people concerned with their bone health, and for anyone looking to get enough calcium. Other ideal sources of calcium rather than dairy include dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce.
Healthy Fats From Avocados
But now comes the real all-rounder: the avocado! The fat content of almost 30% in the ripe state may seem alarmingly high at first, but this very fat is very healthy! The avocado consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the body. With its many positive properties, it truly belongs to the superfood category.
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Do Nuts Cause Weight Gain
The only downside of eating too-many nuts is the possibility of weight gain, although some research disputes this effect. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health writes that an ounce of nuts contains 185 calories, which may lead to weight gain if you eat them regularly.
For this reason, instead of adding them to your current diet, you should substitute them for less-healthy snacks, such as chips, or use them in place of meat in main dishes.
A July 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition addressed the concern that eating this high-fat, calorie-dense food leads to weight gain. The findings showed that rather than increasing the risk of obesity, nuts might actually decrease the risk.
Because nuts are high in fiber, they’re associated with satisfying the appetite. TheAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition found several unexpected associations. Some analyses showed an inverse relationship between higher nut consumption and lower body weight.
In addition, a few studies reviewed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that increasing nut consumption was tied to decreased weight gain over extended periods of time. The authors concluded that eating a handful of nuts regularly, as a replacement for less-healthy foods, can help prevent obesity.
How Many Cashews Can You Eat In A Day
The nutty and creamy flavor of cashews can be tempting, and its easy to end up consuming too much in one sitting.
Try to consume no more than one ounce of medium cashew; a day to reap health benefits. A single serving of cashews contains about 18 nuts. One way to keep your intake under control is to pack them in small, single-serving containers or bags.
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Se Concentration In Plasma
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Pistachios Help Lower Blood Pressure Under Stress
Adding pistachios to your diet also has potential heart benefits. Previously, I discussed how our body and heart responds adversely to stress and how we respond to it with increased blood pressure. A study of people who ate approximately 1.5 0z of pistachios a day and were then exposed to mental stress found they had lower blood pressure rises than those who did not eat pistachios. In people with diabetes, eating pistachios lowers total and LDL cholesterol and can reduce the risk of diabetes-related disease in the arteries. In a four-week trial published in 2014;of;patients who had diabetes, a diet rich in pistachios improved heart rate response to stress, 24-hour blood pressure measurements, and heart function and output. Total cholesterol also decreased for those who ate pistachios.
If you are looking to lower your blood pressure, improve your response to stress, and lower your cholesterol, consider adding pistachios to your diet.
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Nuts Insulin Resistance And Glycemic Control
Some interventional studies have examined the effects of nut-enriched diets on glycemic control in diabetic patients and insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant states. Nuts had no discernible effect on fasting or postprandial glucose and hemoglobin A1C in patients with diabetes . Changes in insulin sensitivity in response to nut diets have been inconsistent. No effects were seen in feeding studies of healthy subjects , hyperlipidemic patients , or patients with insulin-resistant states, such as obesity or the metabolic syndrome . Two recent small studies, however, found reduced insulin levels in patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes after nut feeding. The three-month report of the larger PREDIMED study also showed that the Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts was associated with improved insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose levels in non diabetic and diabetic participants, respectively. Finally, two studies from the same group reported reduced postprandial glucose and insulin excursions after almond meals compared with those elicited after meals containing carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. Thus, in spite of their high energy and fat load, nuts do not worsen and may even improve metabolic control or insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant states, but more evidence is necessary.
These Top 6 Foods Lower Levels Of Cholesterol Naturally
Cholesterol, level of cholesterol, cholesterol levels these terms have certainly been heard more often in recent years. Cholesterol problems are being diagnosed more and more often, especially among the older generation. The influence of cholesterol on health is quite considerable if the level of cholesterol in the blood is too high, vascular calcification can occur, for example.
Doctors often prescribe medication to lower the level of cholesterol. But the right diet or a long-term change in diet can also contribute a lot to keeping your cholesterol level naturally low. We will now tell you which foods are healthy for you and your cholesterol, how you can avoid falling into a cholesterol trap by eating a healthy breakfast and how you can prevent having to take medication.
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Peanuts Contain Vitamin E For Antioxidant Effects
Another factor contributing to cardiovascular disease is damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals.;Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, help protect cells from this type of damage.;Its best to get this vitamin straight from foods, such as peanuts, where it works together with other healthy substances to increase their beneficial effects.
Peanuts Can Prevent Damage Inside Arteries
Damage to the inner lining of your arteries, called the endothelium, may lead to atherosclerosis.;Peanuts contain substances that help protect the endothelium, including arginine; and phenolic compounds . A study of healthy, overweight men showed that including peanuts in a meal helped preserve endothelial function.
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They Improve Metabolic Syndrome And Diabetes
Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and excess belly fat.
The American Heart Association say that about 34 percent of adults in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome. The rates are increasing across the world.
Some research suggests that MUFAs, such as those present in macadamia nuts, may help lower the risk of metabolic syndrome or reduce its effects in people who already have it.
HbA1c is an important measurement for people with diabetes. It is a persons average blood sugar level over the past 23 months. A study on rats with diabetes found that a diet high in MUFAs plus exercise was more effective at lowering HbA1c than either eating the fats or exercising alone.
The Best Nuts To Lower Your Cholesterol
All in all, the best nuts to lower your cholesterol have the highest amounts of unsaturated fats and the lowest amount of saturated fats. These include, but are not limited to:
Peanuts, too are heart-healthy, which may surprise you. In fact, the peanut is the most popular “nut” in the United States and contains high amounts of unsaturated fat and lower amounts of saturated fat.
The peanut’s unsaturated fat profile encourages heart health. Even so, farmers have now developed a way to grow high-oleic peanuts, which have a higher content of unsaturated fat and lower content of saturated fat when compared with regular peanuts.
The Food and Drug Administration has given approval for peanuts and almonds to receive a heart-healthy distinction on their labeling.
Finally, it’s worthy to note that dry roasted, lightly salted nuts appear to have similar health benefits as eating raw nuts, according to a;study;in the European Journal of Nutrition. In this study, 72 participants consumed 30 grams per day of either raw or dry roasted, lightly salted hazelnuts for 28 days. Heart disease factors like cholesterol levels and blood pressure were measured at the beginning of the study and at the end.
Results revealed that compared to the beginning of the study, eating either form of hazelnuts significantly improved HDL levels and blood pressure, without a change in body fat.;
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Walnuts Help Keep Arteries Clear
Most nuts contain a high concentration of healthy fat. Walnuts are composed of 47 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, thought of as “good fats.” But while most nuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts are the only ones with a significant amount of a certain type called alpha-linoleic acid. Alpha-linoleic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and has actually been shown to help reduce plaque buildup in coronary arteries. Eating walnuts has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and the function of the small arteries and vessels within our bodies. Recently, a study looking people who consumed 43 gm of walnuts every day found the nuts;reduced total and LDL cholesterol;levels. However this study showed something even more important, in my view. Consumption of walnuts reduced the level of apolipoprotein B, which is a strong genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease.
If you are at high risk for coronary artery disease or already have it, consider adding walnuts to your diet.
Varieties Of Nuts You Should Be Eating For Your Health
The varieties of nuts you can find at most supermarkets are quite large, which means there is sure to be one or two youâll love. Eating nuts is great for you because they contain lots of nutrients that benefit your health in many ways. Look for them in bulk so you can buy just how much you need or keep a canister in your pantry for a quick snack or cooking ingredient anytime the mood strikes. Check out these varieties of nuts to get yourself started.
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The Link Between Pecans And Heart Disease
While numbers like 6% and 9% might not seem significant, Cooper points out that “Some research shows that even a 1% reduction in LDL is associated with a small reduction of coronary artery disease risk,” so if simply swapping in pecans can drop LDLs by even a few percentage points, it may be a good call for overall health.
It’s not a tremendous shock that pecans have heart benefitsafter all, nuts are a great . Plus, “foods like nuts and seeds contain fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants,”;registered dietitian;Ginger Hultin, M.S., RDN, told mindbodygreen. But nuts aren’t alone in the heart-healthy snack space: Everything from sardines to dark chocolate are worth reaching for, too.
Best Nuts For Chocolate Lovers
Go for cocoa-dusted almonds
Rather than hiding your nuts under a thick layer of sugary chocolate candy – think Jordan almonds or peanut M&Ms – keep it simple with Emerald’s Cocoa Roast Almonds. These nuts are lightly dusted with cocoa powder and sweetened with Sucralose, and have 150 calories, 13 grams fat, and 1 gram of sugar per ounce.
We’d give you a “worst” nuts for chocolate lovers, but the possibilities are practically endless. Just think of it this way, says Caplan: Anything that’s more chocolate than nut really should be considered candy – not as a way to get your daily quota of healthy fats.
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You Only Need A Handful Of Walnuts Each Day
Walnuts are not only good for cooking – they are healthy nuts that can also help your heart.
The Food and Drug Administration , recognizing the cholesterol-lowering properties of walnuts, accepted a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission in March 2004 to list the health claim that walnuts can aid in reducing cholesterol levels on product labels.
The discovery of the benefits of walnuts come from many clinical;studies performed by various research institutions all over the world. The results show consuming walnuts is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are also noted for;reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation.
Fruit And Vegetables Against High Levels Of Cholesterol
It should be clear to everyone by now that fruit and vegetables belong to a balanced and healthy diet like the amen to prayer. Be it the melanzani or the apple, both are very healthy for the human organism. Apples and pears are rich in pectin, which lowers the LDL concentration in the blood. So, for example, you can already refine your breakfast with fruit in the morning. There is also nothing better than starting the day with a Bircher muesli with freshly grated apple:
- 4tablespoons grated or chopped hazelnuts
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How Often Should People With Diabetes Eat Nuts
When it comes to eating nuts, less is more, simply because they are nutritiously dense in calories.
A daily serving of nuts should be about ¼ cup of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Remember that roasted nuts are often coated with additional oil before roasting which means they contain even more fat.