Noten tegen hartstilstand.*

Mannen die regelmatig noten eten hebben ruwweg nog de helft van het risico op een plotselinge dood door hartstilstand, in vergelijking met mannen die geen nootjes lusten. Dat blijkt uit een in de Archives of Internal Medicine gepubliceerd onderzoek. Noten bevatten onverzadigde vetzuren die minder schadelijk zijn voor de aderen als hun verzadigde soortgenoten. Sommige noten hebben ook andere positieve effecten voor het hart. Zo bevatten walnoten veel alpha-linolzuur, een bepaald omega-3 vetzuur dat de gezondheid van het hart ten goede komt. Noten bevatten ook veel vitamine E en magnesium. Dr. Christine Albert van de Harvard Medical School volgde ruim 21.000 mannen gedurende 17 jaar, in de leeftijd van 40 tot 84. Zelfs na het uitsluiten van andere effecten van o.a. roken, drinken, lichaamsbeweging en dergelijke bleek dat diegene die tweemaal per week noten aten veel minder kans hadden om plotseling te overlijden aan een hartstilstand

- Eating even a small amount of nuts per week could help the heart, researchers say. Their findings suggest that the fats contained in nuts could somehow lower the risk of sudden death from heart-related causes. "The findings suggest that increasing nut intake--of course while keeping calories in check--may be a safe and low-cost means of reducing this risk (of death)," said study co-author Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Over a 17-year period beginning in 1982, Manson and her colleagues administered questionnaires on diet, health and exercise to more than 21,000 male physicians across the US. At the start of the investigation, known as the Physicians Health Study, all the participants were healthy and between the ages of 40 and 84. The researchers found that 20% of the men rarely or never ate nuts. Approximately one quarter ate a one-ounce portion of nuts once a week, while less than 15% said they ate nuts two to four times per week. People consuming nuts five or more times weekly represented just over 6% of the men polled. In the June 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Manson and her team report that men who ate two or more one-ounce servings of nuts each week had a 47% lower risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest compared with those who ate nuts less often. Sudden cardiac death was defined as a death that occurred within one hour after symptoms began. While the researchers found eating nuts did not appear to lower the risk of a non-fatal heart attack or the risk of non-sudden cardiac death, the overall risk for heart disease death appeared to be 30% lower among those who ate nuts at least twice a week The researchers cautioned that other observed lifestyle factors among nut-eaters may play a role in the association. For example, those who ate nuts tended to be younger, more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke or have high blood pressure. The researchers suggest that the nutritional content of nuts--which include high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and so-called "healthy" unsaturated fats--may be responsible for their apparent benefit. In particular, they noted that some nuts--such as walnuts--are relatively high in alpha-linolenic acid, a class of fatty acid that may help prevent abnormal heart rhythms and has been shown to cut the risk of sudden cardiac death among people who have already suffered a heart attack. "It really does suggest that all fats are not equal," Manson told. However, both Manson and her colleague Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Boston's Brigham Women's Hospital cautioned that further research is needed--and that people who wish to add nuts to their diet make sure they don't add excess calories in the process. "We have an epidemic of obesity in this country," said Gaziano, "and if people go out eating nuts on top of what they're doing that would be a lot of calories. " SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine 2002;162:1382-1387. (juni 2002)