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Health Benefits of Consuming Nuts and Dried Fruits

  • Published: 2016-11-10 : International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) (nutfruit.org).
  • Synopsis: Studies observe inverse association between frequency of nut consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and body weight.

Main Document

Quote: "Scientific studies have demonstrated that nut consumption has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Nuts are low in sodium, which has been related to a lower risk of hypertension."

Because of their interesting nutritional profile, some studies have evaluated the impact that nuts have on health and have observed an inverse association between the frequency of nut consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and body weight.

In addition, traditional dried fruits also provide essential nutrients, such as fiber and potassium, and a wide range of phytochemicals that have been related to health promotion and antioxidant capacity.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that nut consumption has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Nuts are low in sodium, which has been related to a lower risk of hypertension.

A 2015 study observed that tree nut intake was associated with a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL, "bad", cholesterol and triglycerides. It also asserted that nut consumption in general, rather than just a specific type, was the major reason for the decrease.

Weight Control

Nuts not only offer nutritional benefits, but may help to control body weight. This is important as obesity rates continue to rise across developed nations.

While nuts have a high energy content, several studies found that frequent nut consumption was not associated with a higher body mass index. In fact, long-term nut consumption is associated with lower weight gain and overweight/obesity.

Type 2 Diabetes

Some studies have investigated the effect of nut consumption on diabetes risk.

A 2011 PREDIMED study observed a 52% reduction in diabetes incidence in two experimental groups supplemented with olive oil or 30 g (1 oz) of nuts (a mix of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) per day, compared with the control group.

Research suggests that dried fruit consumption is also good for people who have diabetes. A 2015 study observed that consuming raisins as an alternative to processed snacks resulted in a 23% reduction in postprandial glucose levels.

Gastrointestinal Function

Dried fruits are well-known sources of dietary fiber, which has a direct effect on gastrointestinal function.

In 2013, prunes were granted a specific EU health claim for their contribution to digestive health.

Eating 100 g of prunes (3.5 oz, 8-12 pieces) daily promotes good digestive health and provides more than 19% of the daily recommended intake of fiber.

Osteoporosis

Among nutritional factors, recent observations suggest that prunes may be helpful in both preventing and reversing bone loss. A 2011 study suggests that prunes may improve the bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

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1 - Health Benefits of Consuming Nuts and Dried Fruits - International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC).
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4 - Walnuts Contain Highest Antioxidant Content Among Nuts - California Walnut Commission.
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