They are considered to be a real treasure for health: nuts have many benefits making them delicious and healthy snacks to eat every day. These are for example rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, a family of fatty acids essential for the development and proper functioning of the body. Previous studies have shown a beneficial effect in reducing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But thanks to which components?This is the aim of the new research being carried out by researchers from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with researchers from the University Rovira i Virgili and the University of Navarre.
This published study in the Journal of Nutrition, consisted of using, thanks to artificial intelligence, a machine learning model, to identify 19 metabolites, when intestinal bacteria produce organic compounds that can have an impact on health, associated with the consumption of nuts. These can take the form of fatty acids, amino acids, sugars, peptides or even vitamins. The researchers focused on type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease because they are the two leading causes of death worldwide: the first and respectively the seventh cause of death according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Nuts are good for our health”
The researchers found that the profile of nut metabolites was associated with a 17% lower risk of type 2 diabetes and 29% lower cardiovascular disease. An important finding since it is according to them the first study to examine the association between the metabolites produced from the consumption of nuts and the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. “We are able to improve our understanding of the relationship between diet and disease and take a personalized approach that will lead to better prevention and management. various health problems », Explains Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferré.
She adds: “In this study, we revealed the unique metabolomic signature nuts, which brings us even closer to understanding ‘how’ nuts are good for our health. These cutting-edge technologies are shaping the future of nutritional recommendations. To come to this conclusion, the researchers looked at data from 1,833 participants in the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) study, a large-scale study that took place in Spain and the aim of which was to examine the effects of a Mediterranean diet on the prevention of cardiovascular illnesses in people considered to be at risk for heart disease.
A handful of nuts per day
Participants were between 55 and 80 years old and followed three different diets: a supplemented Mediterranean diet with a mixture of nuts (50% nuts, 25% almonds, 25% hazelnuts), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or a low fat diet. Via blood tests, the scientific team looked for associations between 385 known metabolites and nut consumption. A total of 19 metabolites were significantly associated, including lipids and amino acids. It is this whole “metabolite profile” that is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers believe that these results therefore underline the link between the consumption of nuts as part of a healthy diet and cardiometabolic health. But more studies are needed on this subject in other types of populations since this study was only focused on middle-aged to advanced adults. “In addition, as the field of metabolomics evolves rapidly, future studies will be needed to identify additional biomarkers related to nut ingestion that have not been studied in it as well as to understand individual metabolic responses after nut consumption, ”the researchers conclude.
Note that according to the nutritional benchmarks of the PNNS or the National Health Nutrition Plan, it is recommended to consume a handful of unsalted nuts per day for people without allergies (almonds, nuts, Hazelnut, pistachios…) Given their nutritional value: they are rich in omega 3. This is one of the great novelties recommendations from 2019. In addition, for added fats, the program recommends favoring rapeseed, walnut and olive oil. But beware, this landmark is added to that concerning fruits and vegetables : eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, whether they are fresh, frozen or canned and preferably organic.