Consumption of nuts is a known part of the Mediterranean diet, and other Mediterranean-style diets, however, there is not a lot of
research pertaining to nut consumption and adherence to these health diets.
A new study in the journal Nutrients utilized the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between the dates of 2005 through 2010 to determine if there is any association between tree nut consumption, diet quality, and nutrient adequacy in American adults at least 19 years old or older.
The percent of people falling under the “Estimated Average Requirement” or above the “Adequate Intake” for various nutrients was determined.
Diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index – 2005 (HEI-2005).
- A significantly lower number of people who ate tree nuts fell below the “Estimated Average Requirement” for vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
- A significantly higher number of people who ate tree nuts fell above “Adequate Intake” for fiber and potassium.
- HEI-2005 scores were significantly higher in people who consumed tree nuts compared with people who did not.
Overall, the results of this study indicate that eating tree nuts is essential for maintaining or surpassing recommended values for
many healthy nutrients.
Additionally, the results of this study indicate that people who eat tree nuts are significantly more likely to stick to a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, compared with those who did not eat tree nuts.
It may be beneficial to add tree nuts to your diet in order to improve your nutrient uptake and general health, but please talk to your doctor first, particularly if you have a history of nut allergy.
O’Neil, C.E., Nicklas, T.A., and Fulgoni, V.L, II. 2015. Tree Nut Consumption is Associated with Better Nutrient Adequacy and Diet Quality in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010. Nutrients 7: 595-607.