According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, eating a handful of nuts every day can boost your heart health.
Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferré, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her team examined more than 210,000 people from three massive studies. For 32 years, they recorded the subjects’ medical, lifestyle, and food-frequency information using questionnaires. During that time, they also documented 14,136 cases of cardiovascular disease, 8,390 of which were coronary heart disease.
What they found was plain and simple: The more nuts you eat, the lower your chances are of developing heart conditions. Diving a bit deeper, however, walnuts ruled the day; participants who consumed walnuts two to three times every week were almost 20 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular event, and 21 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. Here are more of the healthiest nuts you can eat.
Aside from being packed with protein, most nuts contain high levels of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E—all of which keep your heart healthy. As a result, “our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” Guasch-Ferré told Medical News Today.
It’s important to note that the study wasn’t perfect; the sample of participants mostly included white health professionals, and allowing participants to self-report their symptoms isn’t always reliable. Still, it can’t hurt to pop a handful of nuts for a healthy snack between meals. Just remember that because they’re high in calories, a little can go a long way.