A new study published in Advances in Nutrition set out to examine the relationship between tree nut and peanut consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). It was the first systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs to provide a comprehensive picture of whether all or some types of tree nuts and peanuts are preferential for improving CVD risk, and if there is a dose-response relationship.

The authors searched the MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL and Cochrane Central databases up to September 2021 and included all RCTs that assessed the effects of tree nut or peanut consumption of any dose on CVD risk factors. A total of 153 articles describing 139 studies (81 parallel-design and 58 crossover-design) were included in the systematic review and 129 studies were included in the meta-analysis.

The researchers found a significant improvement in several biomarkers of CVD risk —low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein, ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and ratio of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein— following the consumption of ≤30 grams per day, with stronger effects for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol at a dose of >60 grams per day. The findings provide evidence for a combined effect of tree nuts and peanuts on a range of biomarkers to create an overall CVD risk reduction.

This research was funded by the Australian Nut Industry Council.

Houston, L., Probst, Y.C., Singh, M.C. et al. Tree nut and peanut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Advances in Nutrition, 2023.

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