Eating Tree Nuts Tied to Lower Cardiovascular Risk in Those with Diabetes

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By : Suvarna Sheth

Incorporating tree nuts into your diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with Type 2 diabetes, this according to researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

It has been known that Type 2 diabetes is linked to increased cardiovascular problems. However, until now, little has been known about the health benefits of nuts on heart health for those who have diabetes.

In this latest study, researchers used diet questionnaires from 16,217 men and women before and after they were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

They were asked about their habits eating peanuts and tree nuts over a period of several years using a validated food frequency questionnaire and updated every 2-4 years.

The study found that people with diabetes who ate at one-ounce servings of nuts a week were 17 percent less likely to develop heart disease than people with diabetes who had no more than one serving of nuts weekly.

Also, they found that adding one extra serving of nuts a week was associated with a three percent lower risk of developing cardiac conditions and six percent lower risk of dying from heart problems.

Importantly, the researchers found that tree nuts, which include walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, macadamias, hazelnuts, and pine nuts were connected to a lower risk of heart disease than peanuts.

Possible reasons for this is that peanuts are often salted and roasted which end up making them unhealthy for heart health. And, that tree nuts are more likely to be consumed with their outer layer of skin, which may contain more beneficial nutrients.

There were several limitations of the study, namely that the study was not a controlled experiment, which means does not prove whether or how nuts actually protect people with diabetes against heart disease.

Researchers conclude that higher consumption of nuts, especially tree nuts, is associated with lower CVD incidence and mortality among participants with diabetes.

They indicate these data provide “novel evidence that supports the recommendation of incorporating nuts into healthy dietary patterns for the prevention of CVD complications and premature deaths among individuals with diabetes.”

The study has been published in the journal, Circulation Research.


  1. Nut Consumption in Relation to Cardiovascular Disease Incidence and Mortality among Patients with Diabetes Mellitus
    Gang Liu, Marta Guasch-Ferre, Yang Hu, Yanping Li, Frank B Hu, Eric B Rimm, JoAnn E Manson, Kathryn Rexrode, and Qi Sun. (Feb. 19, 2019). Circulation Research. Retrieved: