One way to reduce the risk of heart disease: Eat more nuts and seeds, according to a new review of 60 studies.
Scandinavian researchers found that eating nuts could reduce the risk of a heart attack.
“If you eat a handful of nuts every day, that is around 30 grams, you will have a 20% to 25% lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. In comparison, adults in the Nordic countries only eat on average around 4 grams of nuts a day. Many do not eat nuts or seeds at all,” according to study co-author Erik Arnesen, research fellow at the University of Oslo.
How many nuts should you consume?
Although scientists say, “the more the better,” eating just a few nuts is better than none at all, Arnesen said in a university news release.
When eating nuts, keep in mind that they contain fat. Even though most of it is healthy fat, the calories can still add up. Therefore, you should eat nuts in moderation.
Aim for about 4 to 6 servings of unsalted nuts a week. If you want to include nuts in your child’s diet, ask your pediatrician how many servings of nuts are okay. Serving recommendations for kids vary, depending on age.
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What are the best nuts for heart health?
Some nuts contain more heart-healthy nutrients. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts appeared to be the best for lowering cholesterol. However, researchers say there is no conclusive evidence for recommending specific kinds of nuts over others.
“Nuts have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels in the blood, which is important to keep low in order to prevent the buildup of fat in the arteries. This atherosclerosis, as it is called, is one of the greatest risk factors for heart attacks,” Arnesen explains.
When choosing nuts, opt for raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than nuts cooked in oil. One serving is a small handful (1.5 ounces) of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The health benefits in a nutshell
The review involved nearly 2 million participants. Although researchers also investigated whether eating nuts reduced the risk of