Nuts and Endothelial Function: How to Reduce your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease


January 8, 2018

Prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other chronic diseases like diabetes has become a generalized concern in today’s society. Thanks to the increasing information available, we can now be aware of the seriousness of these diseases, what lifestyle habits may help prevent them and what risk factors need to be avoided.

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The Endothelium

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For example: Endothelial dysfunction, which is considered a precursor for atherosclerosis and an independent predictor of CVD[1]. The endothelium is a monolayer of cells in arterial vessels. Its function is to contribute 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. Such risk factors need obviously to be avoided. In addition to these “don’ts”, there are also some ‘do’s’ that may help protect endothelial function.

The Role of Nuts


Nuts, for example. That is the conclusion of a recent study[2] published in the journal BMJ Open and supported by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC). This study consisted of a ‘meta-analysis’, meaning that researchers have reviewed the conclusions of 36 articles describing 32 previous studies, and among other parameters it analyzed the effect of nut consumption on endothelial function.

After their research, investigators found that nut consumption may have a favorable effect on endothelial function. Specifically, they detected a favorable effect on the so-called ‘flow mediated dilation’, which is a measure of endothelial function.

Reduce your Risk!


Several years ago, in 2011, another review had already suggested likewise. On that occasion, the review was conducted by the European Food Safety Authority to substantiate the health claim: “Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of blood vessels”.

In conclusion, including nuts within a healthy dietary pattern may have favorable effects on endothelial dysfunction. Not only will you be enjoying their tasty flavor and their essential nutrients! By consuming nuts, you may also be reducing your risk of suffering cardiovascular disease.

[1] Xiao, Y., Huang, W., Peng, C., Zhang, J., Wong, C., Kim, J. H., … & Su, X. (2017). Effect of nut consumption on vascular endothelial function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Nutrition, Nov 22;7(11):e016863.

[2] Neale, E. P., Tapsell, L. C., Guan, V., & Batterham, M. J. (2017). The effect of nut consumption on markers of inflammation and endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ open, 7(11), e016863.



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