Since 1993 about 24 studies have consistently shown that eating a diet which includes 1.5 ounces of nuts per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce your chance of getting a heart disease. Nuts are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and contain plant sterols which are naturally occurring cholesterol-lowering compounds. Diets containing nuts lowered LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels by approximately 10 to 15 points.
The studies included men, women, young, old, black, white, etc. The positive results, measured by decreased deaths caused by coronary disease and decreased diagnosis of coronary disease, applied to all groups.
In 2003, the FDA approved the following nuts as heart healthy: almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pignola pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Brazil nuts, macadamias, cashews and pinyon pine nuts were not included because they contain 3 to 5 grams of saturated fat per ounce. The approved nuts contain only 1 to 2 grams per ounce. Nuts, however, contain lots of calories, so dieticians suggest that they be eaten in place of fatty food, such as a hamburgers.
We will be adding heart healthy nut recipes to our Web site in the coming months. If you would like to contribute a recipe, send it to our us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make "heart healthy nut recipe" the subject of your e-mail.