Many Americans today are concerned about their health, often trying to change their diets, start new exercise routines, and live better in order to stay healthy. With heart disease remaining one of the largest killers in the United States, many people are, not surprisingly, looking to reduce their risk of succumbing to cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
Diet has long been implicated in the development of heart disease, with diets featuring excessive levels of unhealthy fats, high levels of simple sugars, and a lack of fruits and vegetables being one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Eating healthier fats has become more popular, with heart-healthy choices such as olive oil gaining an increasing amount of market share.
The importance of nuts to a healthy diet is becoming more well known too, as the fats, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in nuts make up part of a well-balanced diet. A recent study found that those suffering from type 2 diabetes had significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease when they ate servings of nuts.
Those who ate more than five servings of nuts per week had a 17% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 34% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Even small amounts of nuts helped protect against heart disease, with each serving of nuts eaten corresponding to a 3% lower risk of heart disease and a 6% lower risk of death due to heart disease. And while this study may have been focused on type 2 diabetics, there’s no reason to believe that the findings wouldn’t translate to healthy populations too.
But don’t think you can better your chances just by eating peanut butter. For one thing, most commercial peanut butters are heavily processed and laden with all sorts of unhealthy compounds. For another, researchers found that tree nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, offered more protection than groundnuts such as peanuts. So maybe pass on the peanuts once in a while and spring for those fancy mixed nuts. You’ll be doing your heart a favor.