For heart health pecans are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Pecans are also chock-full of monounsaturated fats, which are associated with lower cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart disease, as previously noted. Here Joanne Washburn, Food.news, reflects on lowering your cholesterol levels with nuts:
Nuts get a bad rap because of their high fat content. But it turns out, the unsaturated fats in nuts support healthy heart function by reducing your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that accumulates in your arteries, causing them to narrow and making it difficult for blood to flow through them. If left unchecked, cholesterol deposits in the arteries can break and form a clot that can then cause a heart attack or stroke. Both are serious and life-threatening events.
Nuts have also been shown to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure puts you at risk of developing heart disease and experiencing a heart attack or stroke, too.
Nuts are the ultimate bite-sized, heart-healthy snacks
Previous studies have shown just how good nuts are for lowering LDL cholesterol. One such study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that both roasted and raw nuts improved blood pressure and lowered LDL cholesterol levels. The participants ate both nuts over the course of 28 days.
In another study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers compared the effects of following a normal low-cholesterol diet with those of following a diet that replaced a fifth of the calories with pecans. They found that people who ate pecans had lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which are a kind of fat found in blood.
Yet another study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who ate a diet enriched with cashews had lower blood pressure and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol than those who ate a standard diabetic diet. HDL cholesterol is called good cholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol — including LDL — from your blood. The more HDL cholesterol you have, the better.”
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