Go Nuts for Health

Thursday, August 21, 2008 General News
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DAVIS, Calif., Aug. 21 "More and more research shows thepositive impact of tree nut consumption on satiety and weight management, aswell as a number of chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes,"states Lindsay Allen, PhD, Director of the USDA ARS Western Human NutritionResearch Center. Dr. Allen was commenting on proceedings from the Nuts andHealth Symposium in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080821/AQTH008)

Epidemiologic studies show that consuming tree nuts (almonds, Brazils,cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias and walnuts)five or more times per week is associated with a reduced risk of developingboth diabetes and heart disease. In one analysis, individuals who ate the mostnuts had about a 35 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease. While theFDA qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease recommends 1.5 ounces ofnuts per day, few people actually consume this amount on a daily basis. In the2001-2004 What We Eat in America/NHANES survey, 34 percent of those surveyedconsumed nuts but most only ate about 3/4 of an ounce -- roughly half of therecommended amount. And, approximately 60 percent of the nuts were consumed assnacks.

According to Janet King, PhD, co-chair of the 2007 Nuts and HealthSymposium and past chair of the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines AdvisoryCommittee, "Many people consume as much as 25 percent of their total caloricintake from snacks. If we could replace snacks high in refined carbohydrateswith just 1/4 to 1/3 cup of nuts per day we could have a positive impact onnutrient density and the risk of chronic disease."

Moreover, regular nut consumers do not weigh more than those who do notconsume nuts despite eating roughly 250 additional calories per day. "Researchshows that nuts can actually help maintain body weight," states Maureen Ternus,M.S., R.D., Executive Director of INC NREF. "Tree nuts contain beneficialunsaturated fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats), protein and fiber, all ofwhich provide a feeling of fullness." In addition, studies have shown that thefat in nuts may not be fully absorbed and there may be an increase in restingenergy expenditure (the calories burned when you're resting) with regular nutconsumption.

In 2007, the US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service,Western Human Nutrition Research Center (USDA ARS WHNRC) and the InternationalTree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF) joinedforces for a 2 1/2 day symposium on nuts and health. To access the 2007 Nutsand Health Symposium proceedings in the September 2008 issue of the Journal ofNutrition go to http://www.nuthealth.org.

Note to Editors:

For more detailed information on the nutritional content of nuts, research,purchasing and storage tips and recipes, please visit our website athttp://www.nuthealth.org.

Recipe for Creamed Butternut, Pear and Nut Soup

This flavorful soup is perfect as the first course or as a meal in itself.Nuts add richness, texture and a wonderful flavor.

Heat oil in a heavy based pan; add the garlic, tree nuts and leek, andsaute for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Add the squash and pear and cook,stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan, cover and simmer for20 minutes or until squash is soft. Transfer mixture to a blender and processuntil smooth and creamy, season to taste. Spoon into large bowls with a dollopof plain yogurt or Creme Fraiche and a few toasted nuts tossed over forgarnish.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 230 calories, 13g fat, 9g monounsaturated fat, 2.5gpolyunsaturated fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 6gfiber, 270% DV of vitamin A, 35% DV of vitamin C and 10% DV of iron.

Recipe for Mushroom, Watercress and Ricotta Tarts with Nut Pastry

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