• Consumer Health: Nuts and your heart

trail mix spilled out onto a wooden surface, including a variety of nuts and dried fruits

March is National Nutrition Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about the heart health benefits of eating nuts.

Eating nuts can improve your heart health and lower your risk of dying early from heart disease and other causes. Research has found that people who are at risk of a heart attack can cut their risk by eating a healthy diet that includes nuts.

Research suggests that eating nuts may:

  • Lower your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL or "bad," cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which play a major role in the buildup of deposits called plaques in your arteries.
  • Improve the health of the lining of your arteries.
  • Lower levels of inflammation linked to heart disease.
  • Reduce the risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack and death.

Some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients than others. Most nuts, though, contain at least some unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols and L-arginine ― all of which are heart-healthy.

One drawback to nuts is that they're high in calories, so it's important to limit portions. And keep in mind that you could cancel out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they're covered with chocolate, sugar or salt. But choosing nuts instead of a less-healthy snack may help you stick to a heart-healthy diet.

Learn more about eating nuts for your healthy heart.

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