Oxidative stress and inflammation are mediators in the pathophysiology of several non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Tree nuts and peanuts lower risk factors of cardiometabolic disease, including blood lipids, blood pressure and insulin resistance, among others. Given their strong antioxidant/anti-inflammatory potential, it is plausible that nuts may also exert a favorable effect on inflammation and oxidative stress. Evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses of cohort studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest a modest protective effect of total nuts; however, the evidence is inconsistent for specific nut types. In this narrative review, the state of evidence to date is summarized for the effect of nut intake on biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, and an attempt is made to define the gaps in research while providing a framework for future research. Overall, it appears that some nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, may favorably modify inflammation, and others, such as Brazil nuts, may favorably influence oxidative stress. There is a pressing need for large RCTs with an adequate sample size that consider different nut types, and the dose and duration of nut intervention, while evaluating a robust set of biomarkers for inflammation and oxidative stress. Building a stronger evidence base is important, especially since oxidative stress and inflammation are mediators of many NCDs and can benefit both personalized and public health nutrition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics