Q: If nuts are high in fat why do I keep hearing they're good for my heart?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Monday, 23 December 2013.

Q: If nuts are high in fat why do I keep hearing they're good for my heart?

A. Nuts are no longer considered just a salty party nibble like potato crisps and corn chips. Yes  they're high in fat but are nutrient-dense foods that are important in a healthy diet. They have a nutrition profile that is unique with no other food group matching this.

A whole wave of studies over the past 10 years has changed our thinking on nuts. So now a handful of nuts (30 to 50 grams) a day is one of the strategies nutritionists recommend to keep your heart healthy.

Heart-healthy fats

Yes they're high in fat - being over 50 per cent fat, but the fat in nuts is heart-friendly. It's either predominantly mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated, both of which keep your cholesterol in check.

Nuts also boast a good dose of vitamin E (a well-established antioxidant), lots of fibre and arginine (an amino acid) - all food factors that either lower the 'harmful' LDL-cholesterol or prevent oxygen damaging your arteries.

The best way to consume nuts is lightly roasted but not salted. Toss them through salads and stir-fries or take them to work as an office snack.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.