New Harvard Research Supports the Role of
Nut Consumption in Cardiovascular Health

Changes in Nut Consumption and Subsequent Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among US Men and Women:3 Large Prospective Cohort Studies.
Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(7), e013877.

This study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, evaluated the association between changes in consumption of total and specific types of nuts and the subsequent risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in US men and women.

The study included a total of 192,655 participants from three different cohorts. Researchers assessed nut consumption every 4 years using validated food frequency questionnaires. A 0.5 serving/day increase in total nut consumption was associated with lower risk of CVD, coronary heart disease,
and stroke. Compared with individuals who remained non-consumers in a 4-year interval, those who had higher consumption of total nuts (≥0.5 servings/day) had a lower risk of CVD, coronary heart disease, and stroke in the next 4 years.

In conclusion, increasing total consumption of nuts and intake of individual types of nuts (e.g. walnuts, other tree nuts and peanuts) was associated with a lower risk of CVD. This analysis provides further evidence that incorporating nuts into diet is beneficial for CVD risk, even among those who previously did not consume nuts. These data also support the role of nut intake in the primary prevention of CVD.

Snacking on Almonds May Help Improve
Endothelial Function and Lower Bad Cholesterol

Snacking on whole almonds for 6 weeks improves endothelial function and lowers LDL cholesterol but does not affect liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors in healthy adults: the ATTIS study, a randomized controlled trial.
The American journal of clinical nutrition, 111(6), 1178-1189.

This study was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers from King’s College London (UK) aimed to investigate whether a snack substitution (with the same calories) of whole almonds, had any impact on markers of cardiometabolic health in adults aged 30-70.

The study was a randomized, parallel-arm design with 2 intervention groups, almonds and control. Participants consumed control snacks (savory mini-muffins) providing 20% of their estimated energy requirement or almond snacks (also providing 20% of daily estimated energy requirements) which
were weighed and packed in a daily portion for each subject.

Endothelial function, liver fat, and secondary outcomes as markers of cardiometabolic disease risk were assessed at the beginning of the study and at the end. Results observed that almonds, compared with the control group, increased endothelium dependent vasodilation and decreased plasma
LDL “bad” cholesterol concentrations.

So, the study concluded that whole almonds consumed as snacks could markedly improve endothelial function, in addition to lowering bad cholesterol, in adults with risk of cardiovascular disease.

This study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

Nut Intake Is Associated with Lower Mortality Risk

Association of nut intake with risk factors, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 16 countries from 5 continents: analysis from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.

The American journal of clinical nutrition, nqaa108. Advance online publication.

A higher nut consumption, more than 120 g per week (4 servings), was associated with lower mortality risk. This was the result of a study that was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the association of nuts with mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers from the McMaster University (Canada) followed 124,329 participants from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study for a median of 9.5 years. Participants, aged 35-70 years-old, were from 16 low-, middle-, and high-income countries on 5 continents. Their habitual food and nut intake (tree nuts and ground nuts) was measured at the baseline visit, using
country-specific validated food frequency questionnaires.

Results showed that a higher nut intake (>120 g per week compared with <30 g per month) was associated with lower mortality risk from both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular causes in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. These findings support recommendations to increase the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of a healthy dietary pattern, to reduce the risk of death.

Pistachio Extracts MayHelp Treat Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

In Vitro Anti-HSV-1 Activity of Polyphenol-Rich Extracts and Pure Polyphenol Compounds Derived from Pistachios Kernels (Pistacia vera L.).

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 267.

A recent study, published in the journal Plants, examined the activity of polyphenol-rich extracts of natural shelled pistachios kernels on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) replication.

In addition, researchers assessed the anti-herpetic effect of a mix of the most abundant pure polyphenol compounds present in pistachios.

Different laboratory techniques were used to measure the cytotoxicity activity, antiviral activity, and cell viability. The results indicate that polyphenols from pistachios are effective against herpes simplex virus type 1. This study concluded that the antiviral effects of pistachio extracts are the result of a balance of the individual polyphenolic components (antioxidants) that in combination exert the anti-viral activity.

This research was funded by the American Pistachio Growers and by a grant from the University of Messina, Italy.

Nut Consumption and Risk of Cancer

Nut Consumption and Risk of Cancer: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies.

Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention: a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1167. Advance online publication.

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of Wuhan, China, conducted this meta-analysis, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, in which they evaluated the relationship between nut consumption and risk of cancer.

A total of 33 studies –which included more than 50,000 cancer cases– were eligible for the analysis. When comparing the highest with the lowest category of nut intake, higher consumption of nuts was significantly associated with a decreased risk of overall cancer. The protective effect of nut consumption was especially apparent against cancers of the digestive system. Researchers also observed a linear dose-response relationship between nut consumption and cancer: A 20 g/day increase in nut consumption was related to a 10% decrease in cancer risk.

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