Beata Olas

The Cardioprotective Properties of Selected Nuts: Their Functional Ingredients and Molecular Mechanisms

  • Plant Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Health (social science)
  • Microbiology
  • Food Science

Nuts have been known as a nutritious food since ancient times and can be considered part of our original diet: they are one of the few foods that have been eaten in the same form for thousands of years. They consist of various dry fruits and seeds, with the most common species being almonds (Prunus dulcis), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), cashews (cashew nuts, Anacardium occidentale), pistachios (Pistacia vera), walnuts (Italian nuts, Juglans regia), peanuts (Arachia hypogaca), Brazil nuts (Bartholletia excels), pecans (Corya illinoinensis), macadamia nuts (Macademia ternifolia) and pine nuts. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have found nuts to possess a range of bioactive compounds with cardioprotective properties, and hence, their consumption may play a role in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The present work reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the functional ingredients of various nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts) and the molecular mechanisms of their cardioprotective action. The data indicate that almonds, walnuts and pistachios are the best nut sources of bioactive ingredients with cardioprotective properties.

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