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Scandinavian researchers have found that eating a small amount of nuts and seeds every day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study published in the journal Food Nutrition Research.
"If you eat a handful of nuts every day - that is around 30 grams - you will have a 20% to 25% lower risk of cardiovascular disease," said study author Erik Kristoffer Arnsen, from the University of Oslo's Department of Nutrition.
The researchers clarified that they don't have a specific nut that definitely lowers the risk - but noted that almonds, pistachios and walnuts seem to be the best for lowering cholesterol.
Although the team of scientists behind the study said "the more the better", eating a few individual nuts is better than not eating them at all - and can significantly improve your heart health.
"Nuts have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels, which is important to keep low to prevent fat accumulation in the arteries," Arnesen explained.
"Atherosclerosis is one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks."
good for the heart
Bowl of Nuts (Photo: ShutterStock)
More than 1.8 million participants were involved in the current review of 60 studies, where researchers looked at the relative risk of heart disease or stroke compared to the number of nuts they ate per day.
And the researchers did find that nuts lowered blood lipids but did not affect blood pressure. In addition, they were unable to determine whether they affected blood sugar.
It was also unclear whether eating nuts reduces the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes, with the study authors saying more research is needed.
The co-authors suggested that the fatty acid composition in walnuts is beneficial in aiding overall health.
"Although walnuts cannot be used to treat high cholesterol, we believe the effect is significant enough to be used as a preventive measure in the general population," Arnesen said.
Nutrition and diet