Eating nuts regularly could prevent irregular heart rhythm and heart failure, says a study published in the journal Heart.
The researchers showed that eating nuts can lower the risks of:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation (a.k.a. heart flutter which causes a rapid increase in heart rate)
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (enlarged aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body at the level of the abdomen)
Researchers say that they are high in healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants which help boost your heart health. They also said that compared to those who do not eat nuts at all, those who actually eat them tend to have a better and healthier lifestyle: they are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol, they ate more fruits and vegetables and were leaner, as well as physically fit and active.
Various studies have previously linked nuts to preventing heart issues. However, it was not clear which aspects of cardiovascular disease does it really affect. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden took a step further to analyze it. This is a crucial study as it involves huge volumes of data (questionnaires) of more than 61,000 Swedish people aged 45-83 years. It is one of the longest studies which was analyzed over 17 years (to the end of 2014) or until death, whichever came first.
The key findings of the study on nuts for heart health were as follows:
- Eating a handful of nuts per week: Reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation by 3%
- Eating nuts more than three times a week: Reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation by 18%
- Eating nuts moderately: Reduced the risk of heart failure by 20%
- Eating nuts moderately: May possibly reduce heart attack and abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Eating nuts beyond moderate levels: No benefit was seen
- Eating nuts moderately: Doesn’t ensure reversal of health risks of an unhealthy lifestyle
“Since only a small proportion of this population had moderate (about 5%) or high (less than 2%) nut consumption, even a small increase in nut consumption may have a large potential to lead to a reduction in the incidence of atrial fibrillation and heart failure in this population,” concluded the researchers.
Befriend nuts as they befriend your heart!