Just in time for munching at family gatherings and holiday parties, Spanish researchers have found that regularly eating a handful of nuts—along with a typical Mediterranean-style diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits and fish—may reduce a group of risk factors that can lead to heart disease.
Researchers from the University of Rovira i Virgili in Reus studied patients with metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and insulin problems.
In the study, the people who improved most ate about three whole walnuts, seven or eight hazelnuts and seven or eight almonds every day. On average, most of the nut eaters didn’t lose weight, but succeeded in reducing belly fat, improving their cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. The findings are published in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
While adding nuts to a diet already packed with too many calories isn’t recommended, replacing a high-calorie snack of chips or crackers with nuts is considered a favorable change. Nuts help people feel full while also increasing the body’s ability to burn fat.
I already try to eat nuts regularly—thrown in with pasta and green beans, tossed with a salad, or sprinkled on vegetable stews. What are your favourite (or unusual) nut recipes?