Year Published: 2021
Emilio Ros, Annapoorna Singh, James H O'Keefe
Common nuts (tree nuts and peanuts) are energy-dense foods that nature has gifted with a complex matrix of beneficial nutrients and bioactives, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, fiber, non-sodium minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and antioxidant phenolics. These nut components synergize to favorably influence metabolic and vascular physiology pathways, ameliorate cardiovascular risk factors and improve cardiovascular prognosis.
There is increasing evidence that nuts positively impact myriad other health outcomes as well. Nut consumption is correlated with lower cancer incidence and cancer mortality, and decreased all-cause mortality. Favorable effects on cognitive function and depression have also been reported. Randomized controlled trials consistently show nuts have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Nut consumption also confers modest improvements on glycemic control, blood pressure (BP), endothelial function, and inflammation. Although nuts are energy-dense foods, they do not predispose to obesity, and in fact may even help in weight loss. Tree nuts and peanuts, but not peanut butter, generally produce similar positive effects on outcomes.