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Influence of hazelnut on heart health

hazelnutsMercanligil SM and co-workers at the Hacettepe University, Ankara, concluded that "a high-fat and high-MUFA-rich hazelnut diet was superior to a low-fat control diet because of favorable changes in plasma lipid profiles of hypercholesterolemic adult men and, thereby positively affecting the coronary heart disease risk profile" [1]. The scientists conducted this study on fifteen middle-aged hypercholesterolemic men, who received during a period of 4 weeks 40 g hazelnuts daily. (40 g/day), which provided 11.6% of total energy content. They found that the hazelnut-enriched diet decreased the concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) by 30% and triglycerides (high levels of triglycerides are linked to atherosclerosis) by 32%, while increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) concentrations by 12.6%.

A study conducted at Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey, also showed the favourable effect of hazelnut consumption on heart health [2]. This single intervention study examined the effects of hazelnut-enriched diet during 4 weeks on lipids and lipoproteins, and on atherogenic tendency of low-density lipoprotein by evaluating its susceptibility to oxidation and by measuring lipid and lipoprotein levels. They found that the lag time for oxidation increased from 55 to 65.2 min. Oxidized LDL levels decreased from 57 to 48 U/L and total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels were also significantly lower. The authors concluded that the consumption of hazelnuts may play important role in decreasing the atherogenic tendency of LDL by lowering its susceptibility to oxidation.

[1] Effects of hazelnut-enriched diet on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles in hypercholesterolemic adult men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;61(2):212-20.
[2] Hazelnut consumption decreases the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation, plasma oxidized LDL level and increases the ratio of large/small LDL in normolipidemic healthy subjects. Anadolu Kardiyol Derg. 2010 Feb;10(1):28-35.

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