Do you pack cashews in your trail mix bag? If not, maybe this bit of information will prompt you to consider differently when you start making your next batch –cashew nuts can help improve your heart health.
That’s right, several studies have suggested that eating cashews on a regular basis may lead to a reduced risk of: cardiovascular disease and heart attack. In general, including more nuts in your diet can provide heart health benefits. Research has shown that eating just two ounces of nuts daily can lower levels of the harmful type of cholesterol (LDL) by as much as 5%.
However, some studies have linked to eating a few individual nuts to lower blood cholesterol. For example, an study 2019 found that those with type 2 diabetes who devoted 10% of their daily calories to cashews had a lower ratio of LDL to HDL (the good kind of cholesterol) than those who did not enjoy cashews.
The results of a 2017 study eating cashews has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower total cholesterol and LDL levels. Another study from 2018 even pegged cashew consumption with lower blood pressure levels.
Still, some research indicates that the effects of cashews on lowering harmful blood cholesterol levels are a bit unclear. For example, an 2019 review suggests that while consistently chewing cashews may help lower blood pressure and triglyceride (the type of fat found in your blood), they had no effect on lowering total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels.
Keep in mind that there are a limited number of studies examining cashew intake and heart health, which may partially explain the conflicting results. In fact, it may be best to eat a variety of nuts to reap the heart health benefits.
For example, one large study from 2018 showed that eating peanuts and nuts twice a week and walnuts once a week was associated with a 13%-19% lower risk of any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 15%-23% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t forget to grab some nuts (including cashews!) to add to your morning bowl of granola or combine with some fruit for a healthy snack.
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