Cardiovascular disease (CVD) unfortunately remains the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Several studies have observed that nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of CVD due to their content in bioactive compounds which have multiple potential benefits for CVD prevention.
Endothelial dysfunction is considered a precursor for atherosclerosis and an independent predictor of CVD. The endothelium, a monolayer of cells in arterial vessels, contributes to maintaining normal vascular tone and blood fluidity.
Some cardiovascular risk factors including smoking, hypertension, and high LDL-cholesterol levels can directly induce endothelial dysfunction, and a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts improves endothelial markers involved in blood pressure control in hypertensive women.
A recent study has evaluated the effects of peanut consumption on postprandial endothelial function and observed that the intake of 85g/day of peanuts may improve postprandial triglyceride levels and preserve endothelial function. Moreover, walnuts (30g/day) contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels, according to the health claim approved by the European Commission in 2012. In addition, it has been reported that daily pistachio consumption may have a positive impact on improving some cardiometabolic risk factors related with alteration in endothelial function. Collectively, these findings suggest that nut consumption may favorably affect endothelial function.
Photo: Copyright Australian Nut Industry Council - Nuts for Life