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Lipid Disorders and Nuts

Written by ColleenO.

Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts and other nuts are all rich in monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be a "healthy fat." Encouraging research evidence suggests that nuts such as these may improve lipid profile and reduce heart disease risk.

Effect of Nuts on Lipid Disorders

Nuts may have a number of properties that make them effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. For one thing, many of them are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered to be "heart-healthy" fats, especially if they replace "unhealthy" trans and saturated fats in the diet.

Read more details about Nuts.

Research Evidence on Nuts

A growing body of evidence suggests that increased consumption of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts may improve lipid profile and reduce heart disease risk, presumably because of their high monounsaturated fat content.101-109,163,211-212,281

Walnut oil has shown some promise for reducing triglycerides.31

How to Use Nuts

Nuts are widely available in a number of forms: raw, roasted, whole, salted, unsalted, flavored, ground into nut butters, and incorporated into other foods, such as granola. Different nuts offer a variety of flavors and textures. You can eat them alone, as a snack, or incorporate them into dishes you already enjoy, such as salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or stir fries.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

  • Nutritionist or dietitian
  • Naturopathic doctor
  • Integrative MD

Nuts are a relatively common source of food sensitivity and food allergy. Do not eat nuts that you know or suspect are harmful to you.

Certain nuts may be hard for some people to digest. This is particularly the case with raw nuts, such as almonds, because they contain naturally-occurring preservatives. This problem can be reduced or eliminated by soaking and/or lightly roasting nuts.


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  2. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Frequent nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 1998;317:1341-1345.
  3. Fraser GE, Sabate J, Beeson WL, et al. A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease. The Adventist Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1416-1424.
  4. Abbey M, Noakes M, Belling GB, et al. Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994;59:995-999.
  5. Spiller GA, Jenkins DA, Bosello O, et al. Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17:285-290.
  6. Spiller GA, Jenkins DJ, Cragen LN, et al. Effect of a diet high in monounsaturated fat from almonds on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992;11:126-130.
  7. Curb JD, Wergowske G, Dobbs JC, et al. Serum lipid effects of a high-monounsaturated fat diet based on macadamia nuts. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:1154-1158.
  8. Zambon D, Sabate J, Munoz S, et al. Substituting walnuts for monounsaturated fat improves the serum lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic men and women. A randomized crossover trial. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:538-546.
  9. Morgan WA, Clayshulte BJ. Pecans lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with normal lipid levels. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000;100:312-318.
  10. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ. Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 1999;1:204-209.
  11. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation. 2002;106:1327-1332.
  12. Jambazian PR, Haddad E, Rajaram S, et al. Almonds in the diet simultaneously improve plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations and reduce plasma lipids. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:449-454.
  13. Tapsell LC, Gillen LJ, Patch CS, et al. Including Walnuts in a Low-Fat/Modified-Fat Diet Improves HDL Cholesterol-to-Total Cholesterol Ratios in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:2777-2783.
  14. Griel AE, Cao Y, Bagshaw DD, et al. A macadamia nut-rich diet reduces total and LDL-cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Nutr. 2008;138:761-767.

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