A new study has indicated that modest consumption of nuts every day is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile among adolescents.
According to the study, adolescents who ate at least 12.9 grams per day of nuts which is the equivalent of eating a small handful three times per week had less than half the odds of non-eaters for developing metabolic syndrome and this syndrome is a cluster of clinical features that heightens the risk of early heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The study sample was 2,233 U.S. adolescents, ages 12 to 19 years, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2003 and 2010.
Study's lead investigator Roy Kim, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Health in Dallas, said that the surprising finding is that, in spite of what we know about their health benefits, the majority of teens eat no nuts at all on a typical day.
The researchers discovered that metabolic syndrome risk decreased with each additional gram per day of nut intake, but only up to 50 g/day (about 1.8 ounces), when the benefit tapered off. Kim theorized that at higher intakes, any benefits may have been offset by eating too many calories.
Kim said that metabolic syndrome was a major public health problem and their findings at this stage show only a correlation and did not prove that the risk of metabolic disease in teens will go down by eating nuts. However, the results suggest the possibility that a simple dietary recommendation could have a significant impact on the metabolic health of adolescents.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Tree, nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and other nutrients but are high in calories.