International Experts Recommend Nuts and Dried Fruits as Part of a Healthy Diet
The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council hosted a historic meeting of global health researchers, where diabetes was defined as a key topic for investigation.
Chaired by Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Distinguished Professor at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, the meeting included highly-esteemed researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Loma Linda University, and Penn State University, among others.
The effects of nut and dried fruit consumption have gained traction over the last years, and supported by growing scientific evidence, they have been associated with a myriad of health benefits, from cardiovascular health to insulin resistance and diabetes, weight management, lipoproteins and dyslipidemia, inflammation and oxidation, gut health, aging and cognition, and some forms of cancer. More recently, other lines of research have included fertility and nuts and dried fruits as part of sustainable diets. While some areas of research have been put into focus more than others, there is irrefutable evidence that they are nutrient-dense foods with an interesting nutritional composition.
At the meeting, it was highlighted how a joint effort must be made to help bring awareness to the importance of including nuts and dried fruits as part of a healthy diet. The benefits of nuts are wide-ranging and include a variety of nutrients, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and antioxidants, all of which have a beneficial effect on health. Additionally, dried fruits contain essential nutrients and health-promoting bioactive compounds such as antioxidants.
Among the future lines of research discussed in the meeting, participants highlighted the potential role of nuts and dried fruits in preventing diabetes, which is of particular relevance in today’s world. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are currently 537 million people worldwide with diabetes; this number is projected to reach 700 million people by 2045. Prevalence is increasing worldwide, leading to over 4 million deaths every year. In countries such as China and India, the number of deaths attributable to diabetes is exceptionally high: 1.4 million and 648,000 people, respectively. Lifestyle measures and a healthy diet have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes.
The proceedings from NUTS 2022 will be published in a special issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nutrients.