Recently, I spotted a study that suggested nuts had anti-inflammatory action. Now, this isn’t the first time researchers have found nuts to be beneficial for health, but this particular study is exciting for 3 reasons:
- It looked at 5,000 people — a pretty large group
- It examined 3 different blood proteins well known as indicators of system-wide inflammation.
- It showed a significant decrease in two of those inflammation indicators — C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL6) — in people who eat a lot of nuts, according to researchers.
3 servings of nuts for benefits
So, what’s a lot of nuts? People who had the lowest levels of CRP and IL6 ate 5 or more servings of nuts, or about 5 ounces, per day.
1 serving (1 oz.) equals:
- 14 walnuts
- 29 almonds
- 16 cashews
- 45 pistachios 8 Brazil nuts
If that seems like a lot of nuts, the good news is that the study also found that people who ate at least 3 servings of nuts to replace foods that tend to increase inflammation — red meat, processed meat, eggs, or refined grains (such as flour or cornmeal) — had similar improvements. And it’s likely this reduction in inflammation is one key reason that people who eat nuts regularly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
So you don’t necessarily have to eat nuts by the handful to benefit — instead, make some substitutions in dishes you normally use meat or eggs in. For instance, in place of meat sauce on spaghetti, you could use basil pesto made with walnuts — with spaghetti squash as a less inflammatory pasta substitute!
Nuts are a key part of the Alkaline for Life diet plan we use to benefit the whole body. Chomping on nuts offers a lot of benefits besides the nutrients for people concerned about their bones — but nut butters and spreads work just as well.
Of course, I know some folks out there can’t have nuts due to an allergy — obviously, they should avoid nuts! But similar effects have been found in seeds (such as sesame seeds), which are also part of an alkaline diet. The heartening take-away from this is that you can have a significant impact on your health by increasing the amount of healthy, anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Those who can’t have nuts because of allergy can have sunflower seeds, fresh vegetables, and other alkalizing foods to help quiet the inflammation that leads to health concerns.
Alipoor B, Haghighian MK, Sadat BE, Asghari M. Effect of sesame seed on lipid profile and redox status in hyperlipidemic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Sep;63(6):674-8. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.652077. Epub 2012 Jan 23.
Khadem Haghighian M, Alipoor B, Eftekhar Sadat B, Malek Mahdavi A, Moghaddam A, Vatankhah AM. Effects of sesame seed supplementation on lipid profile and oxidative stress biomarkers in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Health Promot Perspect. 2014 Jul 12;4(1):90-7. doi: 10.5681/hpp.2014.012. eCollection 2014.
Marta Guasch-Ferré, Mònica Bulló, Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, et al. Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 164 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-164
Sabine Rohrmann, David Faeh. Should we go nuts about nuts? BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 165 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-165
Z. Yu, V. S. Malik, N. Keum, et al. Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134205