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Nuts Help Lower Cholesterol

According to a recent review of 25 studies, eating 67g of nuts on average every day – a portion the size of a small bag – reduces cholesterol levels by 7.4 percent.

The research team at Loma Linda University in Southern California believe that nuts help block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream

“Increasing the consumption of nuts as part of an otherwise prudent diet can be expected to favorably affect blood lipid levels (at least in the short term) and have the potential to lower CHD [coronary heart disease] risk,” say the researchers in a prepared statement.

While the study was partially sponsored by the International Tree Nut Council, there has been independent research over the years that has confirmed the health benefits of nuts. But one caveat from the study is that the health impact was not as powerful with people who were overweight.

The type of nut you eat isn’t all that important, since most are packed with nutrition. But some nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than others. Here’s a breakdown of what makes nuts so effective in lowering cholesterol:

Good Fats

Experts aren’t quite sure why, but they believe that the “good” fats in nuts (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) lower bad cholesterol levels.

Fiber

All nuts have fiber, which helps lower cholesterol.

Plant Sterols

Some nuts contain plant sterols, which can help lower your cholesterol.

In a couple weeks, we will be spotlighting the walnut, in celebration of “Walnut Week.”

(via: BBC and L.A. Times)

May 18th, 2010

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