Nuts over Nutritional and Health Benefits of Nuts

I am nuts about nuts. One and a half ounces of tree nuts a day can keep the doctor away. These nuggets of nutrients not only provide you with monounsaturated and Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidant flavonoids and cholesterol lowering phytosterols, a recent study showed they have a variety of health benefits.

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts


Tree nut consumers weighed less, had a lower body mass index (BMI) and slimmer waist circumference compared to non consumers. Further, tree nut consumption was associated with a decrease of metabolic syndrome, as well as four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels.

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers found eating tree nuts was associated with higher levels of HDL, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (good cholesterol). They also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation, which can lead to a variety of chronic diseases including heart disease. The study looked at 13,292 men and women (19+ years) participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Intake was from 24-hour recall data and tree nut consumers were defined as those who consumed ? ¼ ounce/day.

Even thought the amount of tree nuts consumed was low (mean intake of 1.19 ounces/day), those who ate nuts had a higher quality diet. For example whole grains with nuts, fruits and nuts, were combinations that go together.  You can sprinkle nuts in salads or on vegetable dishes. In addition, add them to yogurt and significantly improve the quality of your diet. Nut eaters had a greater intake of whole grains, fruits, and less saturated fatty acid. After that, sodium and calories from solid fats, alcohol and added sugars. Nuts are filling and satisfying, just beware of too much of a good thing. A little goes a long way as they are packed with calories. Just make a small cup in the palm of your hand and measure. Above all, beware if you are allergic.

Dr. O’Neil recommends, Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals. Furthermore, especially registered dietitians. ”Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), adds, “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issued a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, we need to educate people about the importance of including tree nuts in the diet. And, since February is heart month, this is a great reason to go nuts for your health!”

Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker and author of Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier”. She is an expert in anti aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, and weight loss, nutrition, supplements and executive health.  She has a private practice in Anti Aging Medicine in Short Hills, NJ.  You can live younger and healthier; Click Here to Get my Best 7 Tips on How to Live Younger and Healthier!


  1. john July 6, 2013 at 11:35 am - Reply

    I read a lot about nuts being good for you but they always come with a caution about eating too many because of the high calories. I fail to understand this. If nuts contain good fat why is it bad to consume more of it? It seems lazy analysis to resort to the old axiom of “too many calories are bad” to justify a position. We’ve learned a lot since that old saw, including that all fat is not created equally.
    What I’d like to know is if there have been any studies at all which suggest that too much good fat is a bad thing and if so how much.

    • maita July 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Good point. I could write a book about this subject but try to stress important points. The Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio is very important and I would like you to consider that fats are not good or bad but the balance is important. Omega 6 fats are inflammatory. You need a certain amount of Omega 6 fatty acids to produce an inflammatory response to heal and fight infection as well as to provide cell membrane stability. Fats in your diet are important to feel satisfied, to have a source of energy that can be stored and to incite or stop inflammation. Fats are high in calories and don’t provide essential amino acids/proteins or the full complement of vitamins and mineral necessary for optimal health. Too much of anything is not good. Vegetables are the best source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and fiber -all are necessary along with some fats, protiens and carbohydrates for good health. Man or woman cannot live by bread or nuts alone – strive for a healthy balanced diet. Thanks for your comment.

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