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Higher Nut Consumption May Improve Serum Cholesterol

Last Updated: May 10, 2010.

Higher nut consumption is associated with lower serum cholesterol levels, especially among individuals with higher baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or lower body mass index, according to research published in the May 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Higher nut consumption is associated with lower serum cholesterol levels, especially among individuals with higher baseline low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or lower body mass index, according to research published in the May 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Joan Sabaté, M.D., of Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues combined data from 25 trials on nut consumption involving 583 subjects with normal or elevated cholesterol who were not taking lipid-lowering medications. The subjects had a mean daily consumption of 67 g of nuts (almonds, walnuts and other nuts).

The researchers found that this nut consumption was associated with an average 5.1 percent decrease in total cholesterol concentration, a 7.4 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol, and an 8.3 percent change in their ratio of LDL cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Also, triglyceride levels declined by 10.2 percent among subjects whose triglyceride levels were initially high (at least 150 mg/dL), but this was not the case for those with lower initial triglyceride levels. They also found that the effects of nut intake were dose-related, and that they were greatest among subjects with high baseline LDL cholesterol or lower body mass index, and those on Western diets.

"Our findings confirm the results of epidemiological studies showing that nut consumption lowers coronary heart disease risk, and support the inclusion of nuts in therapeutic dietary interventions for improving blood lipid levels and lipoproteins and for lowering coronary heart disease risk," the authors write.

The study was supported in part by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation. Several authors disclosed financial ties to nut and peanut organizations.

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