Archaeological records show that the consumption of tree nuts and peanuts spans several centuries. Today, a wide variety of tree nuts as well as peanuts (a legume) are consumed. Frequent nut consumption is associated with numerous health benefits due to their unique nutrient profile. This entry describes the nutrient composition of nuts, along with the epidemiologic and clinical evidence supporting their cardioprotective benefits.

Nutrient Profile

By botanical definition, the majority of commonly consumed nuts are not really nuts but rather fruits and seeds. “True nuts” therefore are the acorn, chestnut, hazelnut, beech, and filbert. However, in the cornucopia of foods, nuts generally are characterized as a dry fruit comprising an edible kernel or meat encased in a woody or leathery shell. Other nut varieties include walnuts, almonds, ...

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