A number of recent studies have indicated that nuts
and berries provide great advantages in averting metabolic
syndrome, a cluster of symptoms linked to heightened risk
of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Preliminary results from a Spanish study involving 9,000
people suggest that a Mediterranean diet leads to improved
levels of cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure,
all linked to metabolic syndrome. In particular, a Mediterranean
diet supplemented with 15 grams of walnuts, 7.5 grams
of hazelnuts and 7.5 grams of almonds per day appeared
to provide a long-term 50 percent reduction in the risk
disease, more than the Mediterranean diet high in
olive oil or the low fat diet. The research was published
in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In another study, researchers found that people who supplemented
their everyday diet with 2-3 ounces of pistachios per
day for four weeks showed significantly improved cholesterol
ratios, perhaps due to their increased intake of fiber
and lower intake of saturated fat. This study was published
in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
"This research challenges the previously held belief that
a low-fat diet is best for heart health. Studies now show
that a diet with a moderate amount of healthful monounsaturated
fat, like the kind found in pistachios, is a more effective
way to prevent heart disease than reducing overall fat
intake," said lead researcher James Cooper.
In a long-term study of 34,000 post-menopausal women published
in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as berries
was correlated with lowered incidence of cardiovascular
disease over the course of 16 years.
An estimated 50 million people suffer from Metabolic
Syndrome in the United States, placing them at a doubled
risk of cardiovascular disease and five times the risk
of diabetes compared with those who do not have the syndrome.