Blue Diamond Growers who ate nuts were less likely to develop heart disease, concluded a Harvard University study of more than 86,000 nurses over 14 years. The results appeared in the November 14, 1998, issue of the British Medical Journal. A second report from Harvard, presented at an American Heart Association meeting last November, found similar benefits in more than 22,000 male physicians followed for 12 years.
Both studies were reported in HealthNews last December. The magazine pointed out that the usual nutrition advice is to eat nuts only occasionally because of their fat content, but that the two Harvard studies suggest that nuts may have a larger role in a healthful diet. This is because of the type of fat that predominates in nuts--unsaturated, which the magazine points out has been shown to lower cholesterol. HealthNews adds that some nuts contain other nutrients that might play a role as well, such as vitamin B, fiber, and alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid that's been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
To derive the most benefit from the heart healthy properties of nuts, the magazine recommends substituting nuts for fatty snacks or meats.
The Gannet News Service reported these findings in a story bylined by Susan Kreimer, "For A Healthy Heart, Munch On Nuts In Moderation." The article ran in the Marin County Independent Journal on January 6.
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