Can nuts reduce the formation of vascular plaque?
Plaque formation in the vascular system is something we are better off without, not only because it will increase cardiovascular risk, but we need good blood circulation to all tissue we have. Blood vessels in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients have, for example, been found to have a lot of plaque.
A high nutrient, low-glycemic index plant-based diet is a good choice, but is it possible to only add one food, and see a significant reduction in vascular plaque?
That’s exactly what the researchers of the following study investigated.
They measured the internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height using ultrasound at the start and after an average follow up of 2.4 years(Sala-Vila A, et.al, 2014).
Carotid intima-media thickness is the thickness of the inner layer of the blood vessel.
The participants consumed a Mediterranean diet. One group added either virgin olive oil or 30 grams of nuts every day to their diet. The control group consumed a low fat diet.
These were the results:
Compared with the control diet, consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts was associated with delayed progression of intima-media thickness and plaque.
It is also interesting that there were no changes after the Mediterranean diet with the added virgin olive oil.
A good assumption would be that nuts contain nutrients the olive oil is missing, especially antioxidants.
Oil even if it is a good oil is not as good as natural unprocessed food.
30 grams of nuts is only one big handful.
Get in the habit of reducing your intake of grains and use some nuts instead. That will work a lot better for you (unless you are allergic to nuts).
Sala-Vila A, Romero-Mamani ES, Gilabert R, Núñez I, de la Torre R, Corella D, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, López-Sabater MC, Pintó X, Rekondo J, Martínez-González MÁ, Estruch R, Ros E.Changes in ultrasound-assessed carotid intima-media thickness and plaque with a Mediterranean diet: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Feb;34(2):439-45.
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