An article in the Wall Street Journal (May 11, 2010) has described how research has shown the benefits of eating nuts and describes that for most people consuming two handfuls of nuts a day seems to work better than one in lowering cholesterol. The type of nuts includes almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia’s, hazelnuts and peanuts.

The results of the study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The lead author was one of the first researchers to link nut consumption to a lower risk of heart attack several years ago. The author of the study says the study “confirms that nuts, indeed, lower cholesterol”.

In 2003 the Food and Drug Administration allowed processors to put on labels that “eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts…as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The majority of the prior studies involved almonds and walnuts. This study seems to show that the drop in cholesterol was less pronounced in obese people and in those eating a “Mediterranean diet” while a greater improvement was seen in those who consumed a “Western” diet of high-fat meats and dairy products.

Dr. Steven Reisman, a Manhattan cardiologist, who directs six locations of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center believes that dietary therapy along with exercise and nutrition advice is an important treatment in patients who have elevated cholesterol in an attempt to lower cholesterol prior to beginning medication.