Current Atherosclerosis Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 397-406

First online:

Nuts and Berries for Heart Health

  • Emilio RosAffiliated withLipid Clinic, Endocrinology and Nutrition Service, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Hospital ClínicCiber Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn) Email author 
  • , Linda C. TapsellAffiliated withIllawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and Smart Foods Centre, University of Wollongong
  • , Joan SabatéAffiliated withDepartment of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University

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Nuts are nutrient-dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty acids and other bioactive compounds, such as L-arginine, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and polyphenols. By virtue of their unique composition, nuts are likely to beneficially impact heart health. Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease in both genders and diabetes in women. Limited evidence also suggests beneficial effects on hypertension and inflammation. Interventional studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity, and glycemic control also appear to be positively influenced by frequent nut consumption without evidence of undue weight gain. Berries are another plant food rich in bioactive phytochemicals, particularly flavonoids, for which there is increasing evidence of benefits on cardiometabolic risk that are linked to their potent antioxidant power.


Tree nuts Peanuts Berries Fatty acids Phytochemicals Antioxidants Flavonoids Healthy diets Epidemiologic studies Clinical trials Coronary heart disease Stroke Obesity Metabolic syndrome Visceral adiposity Type 2 diabetes Weight gain Hypertension Blood cholesterol Triglycerides Glycemic control Insulin Oxidation Inflammation Flow-mediated dilatation