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Tree Nut Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

An estimated 34.3% of Americans have metabolic syndrome. According to a new study, eating tree nuts daily helps lower the risk of metabolic syndrome by as much as 14%. It may also help lower the risk of obesity.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors associated with chronic disease. They include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol. Presence of any three of the five risk factors results in a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study included 803 people who took part in the Adventist Health Study-2, 32% of whom had metabolic syndrome. The researchers used the data collected to determine intake of total nuts and incidences of metabolic syndrome.

The highest intake of tree nuts was found to be ½ an ounce per day, while the lowest was .17 ounces per day.

The researchers found that eating one serving of 1 oz. of tree nuts weekly was associated with a 7% lower risk in developing metabolic syndrome. Eating twice that amount was associated with a 14% lower risk.

The researchers noted that while all nut consumption was associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, tree nuts seemed to be particularly effective. They also found that eating more tree nuts was associated with a lower risk of obesity when compared with eating low amounts of tree nuts.

Researchers from Loma Linda University conducted the study. It was published on January 8, 2014, in PLOS One.

Tree nuts include almonds, macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. They are a rich source of magnesium, vitamin E, protein and beneficial phytochemicals. Numerous studies have associated phytochemicals with antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

In the United States, tree nuts are typically consumed in the form of snack food. If you want to add more tree nuts to your diet, you replace unhealthy snacks such as chips and candy bars with raw, unsalted tree nuts.

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