Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 May-Jun;61(1):33-37. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2018.05.003. Epub 2018 May 22.


There is compelling evidence showing that nut intake confers protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD). We conducted a review of the literature with respect to observational studies and randomized trials completed in the past ≈25 years that examined nut intake and CVD endpoints. We included findings from major cohort studies, a large intervention trial, and numerous smaller nut trials. Collectively, data from observational and intervention studies indicate strong and significant association between nut intake and decreased risk of fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and sudden death; and somewhat weak association with stroke. The primary mechanism by which nuts protect against CVD is through the improvement of lipid and apolipoprotein profile. Increasing evidence also indicates that nut consumption may confer protection against CVD via lowering of oxidative stress, inflammation, and improvement in endothelial function. Nut components, such as unsaturated fatty acids, l-arginine, beneficial minerals, phenolic compounds and phytosterols, appear to be of paramount importance for their health effects.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Coronary heart disease; Endothelial function; Inflammation; Mortality; Nuts; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value
  • Nuts*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Prognosis
  • Protective Factors
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipids