Washington: Including tree nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, in the diet can improve the nutrient adequacy for most nutrients, and with better diet quality.
A new study compares the nutrient adequacy and diet quality of those who consume tree nuts and non-tree nut consumers in a nationally representative population.
Researchers looked at 14,386 adults, 19+ years of age, participating in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Usual intake was derived from two separate 24-hour recalls. The difference between this study and previous research is that this one uses usual intake and compares nutrient adequacy versus nutrient intake. The latter simply looks at the amount of a particular nutrient an individual consumes. Nutrient adequacy, on the other hand, measures how much of a particular nutrient is consumed in relation to the recommend amount for that nutrient.
Tree nut consumers accounted for approximately 6 percent of the population and their mean usual intake was 44 grams (or approximately 1.5 ounces) per day. Compare this to the per capita intake of just 3.3 grams of tree nuts per day. When it comes to nutrient adequacy for most nutrients, tree nut consumers fared better than non-consumers.
According to Carol O'Neil, professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and lead author on the paper, consumption of tree nuts should be encouraged, as part of a healthy diet, by health professionals to improve diet quality and nutrient adequacy. The authors also stressed the need for nutrition education programs that increase awareness and consumption of tree nuts.
The study is published in the open access journal Nutrients.