Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels

An analysis of studies has provides “the best evidence yet that eating nuts reduces LDL cholesterol and improves the blood lipids profile,” said Dr. Joan Sabate, who chairs the nutrition department at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and was a co-author of the report, published May 10 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at the university pooled data on 583 men and women who had participated in 25 nut consumption trials. The results showed that eating about 2.3 ounces of nuts a day — a third of a cupful — reduced total cholesterol levels by 5.1 percent and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 7.4 percent.

That amount of nut eating also improved the ratio of LDL cholesterol to “good” HDL cholesterol by 8.3 percent and caused a decrease of 10.2 percent in triglyceride levels among people with high levels of those blood fats.

But enthusiasm for nuts should be restrained, Sabate said. They are highly caloric, and thus can contribute to obesity. A 3-ounce-a-day limit was recommended.