Category Archives: Nuts

Roasting Decreases Potential Health Benefits of Nuts

Olive oil and red wine not the only parts of the Mediterranean Diet that carry significant health benefits. In fact, nuts have also been shown to possess many of the same health benefits as the other components, and are also considered to be a significant contributor

Photo by Flickr user s58y (https://www.flickr.com/photos/s58y/4415406430)
Photo by Flickr user s58y (https://www.flickr.com/photos/s58y/4415406430)

to the overall health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

There are a lot of different kinds of nuts out there on the market, with many of them shown to be heart healthy and good for you in many other different ways. There also happen to be a lot of different preparations of these nuts on the store shelves (i.e. roasted, honey-roasted, blanched, chocolate covered, etc.), but do we really know if nuts in any preparation other than raw provide the same health benefits?

For example, they say almonds are really good for you, so does that mean that roasted almonds are also good for you? Or does the roasting process somehow change the almond in such a way that the health benefits are no longer there?

A new study published in the journal Food Chemistry aimed to address this very question, and sought to determine how and if the health benefits of nuts changed under different roasting conditions.

The nuts evaluated in this study were: hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.

Compounds known to be associated with health benefits as well as compounds known to be potentially harmful were measured and analyzed before and after roasting of each type of nut under different roasting times and different roasting temperatures.

Important Findings:

  • Fatty acid composition of all nuts studied was not affected by roasting.
  • Malondialdehyde levels increased with higher roasting temperatures, with levels in walnuts increasing 17 times over.
  • Tocopherol isomer (Vitamin E) levels decreased after roasting.
  • Hydrophilic antioxidant capacity significantly decreased in hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and walnuts after roasting.
  • Acrylamide (a known carcinogen) levels increased in almonds after roasting though did not significantly exceed recommended levels.
    • At the highest roasting temperature (180oF), acrylamide levels in almonds reached up to 941μg/kg, while the recommended maximum levels recorded are 1000μg/kg.
  • Nuts roasted between 120oF and 160oF showed the most favorable sensory characteristics.

The results of this study suggest that roasting changes the potential health benefits of various nuts. Specifically, Vitamin E levels and antioxidant capacities of different nuts decrease with increasing roasting temperatures. This is not to say roasting nuts is bad for you

Photo by Flickr user Pete (https://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/6345335470)
Photo by Flickr user Pete (https://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/6345335470)

per se, it’s just that when compared to raw nuts, the health benefits are decreased.

Fatty acid composition in nuts did not seem to change with roasting, resulting in the maintained potential health benefits of these fats regardless of roasting or not.

In almonds, roasting at the highest temperature (180oF in this case) resulted in increased levels of acrylamide, a known carcinogen. While concentrations of this compound did not exceed recommended levels, the values did get pretty close.

While eating them raw would be the best way to obtain the health benefits, roasting nuts at a lower temperature (between 120oF and 160oF) provided the best taste and flavor in the nuts in this study, and would be the recommended temperature to optimize flavor, minimal loss of health benefits, and minimization of potential carcinogenic compounds.

Source:

Schlörmann, W., Birringer, M., Böhm, V., Löber, K., Jahreis, G., Lorkowski, S., Müller, A.K., Schöne, F., and Glei, M. 2015. Influence of roasting conditions on health-related compounds in different nuts. Food Chemistry 180: 77-85.

Daily Nut Consumption Reduces Risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease

Consumption of nuts has been linked to many health benefits, including benefits to memory, appetite, and cardiovascular health.

Photo by Flickr user  Iain Buchanan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaeden/111015656)
Photo by Flickr user Iain Buchanan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaeden/111015656)

Part of the Mediterranean diet, nuts are considered an important part of daily consumption, and is frequently recommended to those without specific allergies.

A new study in the journal Preventative Medicine has examined the effect of nut consumption on. peripheral arterial disease. While nut consumption is linked to lower risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, the association with the specific cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, is unknown.

This study followed 3,312,403 Americans between 2003 and 2008 who had voluntarily undergone vascular screening tests. Average age was 63.6 +/- 10.6 years, with 62.8% of participants being women, and 86.2% being white.

Nut consumption, diet, and other lifestyle habits were determined for each participant using self-reported questionnaires.

Diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease for participants was determined using systolic blood pressure measurements in both ankles.

Hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and hypertension were determined by physician diagnosis.

Important Findings:

  • Out of 3,312,403 participants, there were 219,527 cases of peripheral arterial disease (6.7%).
  • About half of the study population ate nuts fewer than once per week.
  • There was a negative association between nut consumption and presence of peripheral arterial disease.
  • Daily nut consumption was associated with 21% lower odds of developing peripheral arterial disease compared with folks consuming nuts less than once per month.

The results of this study suggest that nut consumption reduces the risk of peripheral arterial disease. Specifically, eating nuts every day lowered the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease by 21%

Photo by Flickr user  Gilles Gonthier (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillesgonthier/507725888/)
Photo by Flickr user Gilles Gonthier (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillesgonthier/507725888/)

compared with people who ate nuts less than once per month.

The huge sample size in this study strengthens the results, though the self-reporting nature of these kinds of lifestyle questions could skew the results slightly. Regardless, these results show promise that a daily nut regime might help reduce the risk of peripheral arterial disease.

Source:

Heffron, S.P., Rockman, C.B., Gianos, E., Guo, Y., and Berger, J.S. 2015. Greater frequency of nut consumption is associated with lower prevalence of peripheral arterial disease. Preventative Medicine 72: 15-18.

Go Nuts for Health!: Tree Nut Consumption Linked to Better Nutrition and Diet

Consumption of nuts is a known part of the Mediterranean diet, and other Mediterranean-style diets, however, there is not a lot of

Photo by Flickr user Eric Kilby (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby/3142028123)
Photo by Flickr user Eric Kilby (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby/3142028123)

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).

Important Findings:

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