A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
A lack of blood to the heart may seriously damage the heart muscle and can be life threatening.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of heart attacks, and certain foods have been shown to reduce a person’s risk of developing the deadly complication.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who regularly eat a variety of nuts, including peanuts, walnuts and tree nuts, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease compared to people who never or almost never eat nuts.
While many past studies focused on nut consumption as a whole, researchers in this study also investigated the association between specific types of nuts – peanut butter, peanuts, walnuts and tree nuts – with major cardiovascular events.
Peanuts were included even though they are actually a legume because they have a similar fatty acid and nutrient profile as other nuts.
To gather the findings, the research analysed data from over 210,000 people, including women from the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, with up to 32 years of follow up.
Participants who ate peanuts or tree nuts two or more times per week had a 13 percent and 15 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, respectively, and a 15 percent and 23 percent, lower risk of coronary heart disease, respectively, compared to those who never consumed nuts.
Participants who consumed five or more servings of nuts a week had a 14 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease than participants who never or almost never consumed nuts.
“Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” said Marta Guasch-Ferre, PhD, lead author of the study and research fellow at the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
How can eating nuts boost heart health?
According to Mayo Clinic, one way nuts may help your heart health is by lowering the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels.