Peanuts and nuts are well known for their potential preventive effect on the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. This beneficial effect on our heart is generally attributed to the high amount of ‘good’ unsaturated fats in nuts. However, the positive effect of nuts on heart health is greater than is simply attributable to their favourable fat content.
Which other nutrients in nuts could contribute even more? This was the question researchers in the heart diseases.asked themselves. They investigated whether the so-called polyphenols present in nuts also had protective effects for our body. It has already been demonstrated that the effect of polyphenols in red wine, green tea and chocolate could reduce the risk of
Thirteen adults received for breakfast a smoothie enriched with almonds, walnuts, or one that was not enriched with polyphenols. Looking at the changes in the participants’ blood, the researchers concluded that the body could indeed absorb the polyphenols from the nuts, and that these polyphenols also contributed to the antioxidant capacity of the body. This provided the evidence that the reduction in the risk of heart disease may go beyond the fat composition of nuts, and that the polyphenols in nuts also play a role.
The American Heart Association already recommends that at least 28 to 56 grams of nuts should be included daily as part of a healthy diet for the heart. These findings provide further support for the recommendations.
1) Yang. J., Liu R.H. and Halim L. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of common edible nut seeds. Food Science and Technology 2009; 42: 1-8.
2) Torabian S., Haddad E., Rajaram S., Banta J. and Sabaté J. Acute effect of nut consumption on plasma total polyphenols, antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 2009; 22: 64-71.