Go a Little Nuts: A Handful a Day Boosts Heart Health

Walnuts, almonds, pistachios - almost any kind of nut - pack a lot of nutrition into a small shell.

The November issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource covers why nuts are a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.

Most nuts contain some nutrients that can benefit heart health and help with cholesterol control. They include unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, 1-arginine and plant sterols. Nuts have been shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood. Eating nuts also can reduce the risk of developing blood clots and improve the health of the lining of the arteries. These benefits suggest that eating nuts, in limited amounts, may reduce the risk of heart disease, though studies haven’t yet proved this conclusively.

Almost any type of nut is nutritious - and high in calories. It’s best to eat nuts in moderation, no more than a handful a day. Consider that 1 ounce of almonds contains 169 calories and 15 grams of fat. Calorie and fat content for other nuts is similar. Also, choose unsalted or low-salt versions and use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 800-876-8633, extension 9751, (toll-free) or visit http://www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com.

Source:  Mayo Clinic

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