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Not all nuts are created equal...some are great monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid sources

While some nuts have proven to be heart-healthy, others may not be.

A recent review article, published in the Journal of Nutrition,analyzed the data from 23 published studies focusing on the effects of nuts on plasma lipid concentrations.

The researchers found that eating 50 to 100 grams of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, and / or almonds five or more times per week, as part of a heart-healthy diet with total fat content (high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) of approximately 35 percent of total calories, resulted in significantly lower total- and LDL- cholesterol in normo- and hyperlipidemic individuals than those who didn't eat nuts. Unfortunately, not all nuts may be alike. The researchers reported non-significant, and less impressive, drops in lipids as a result of macadamia nut intake.

However, several other studies have reported positive benefits from macadamia nut intake due to the high content of monounsaturated fat(80 percent) in those nuts. A difference may be the meta-analysis study mentioned above looked at the effects of nuts on both normo- and hyper-lipidemic individuals. The later studies, including one published in 2003 in the Journal of Nutrition, looked exclusively at hypercholesterolemic men.

While nuts are high in fat and calories, and therefore potentially fattening, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when controlled for their caloric content eating walnuts did not result in significant weight gain. In fact, over the study period the subjects who ate walnuts experienced less weight gain than expected.

Apparently keeping track of calories and substituting heart-healthy nuts for other items in your diet may be the way to go for lowering elevated blood lipids

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 01.09.06