Doctor's Note

This helps explain why Nuts May Help Prevent Death.

What else can nuts do? See, for example:

Don’t nuts make us fat, though? You may be surprised—see Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence.

Which type of walnut is better? Black Versus English Walnuts

What about the phytates in nuts--do we need to soak or toast them? See:

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  • Perry

    I wish there was more data available on this subject. What is it in nuts that has this artery-enhancing effect? Arginine? What about seeds? are they just as good for you? Perhaps I don’t need nuts because I take a tablespoon of flax seeds each day. Since I’m on a healthy plant-based, whole foods diet, low in fat, and as a result, my blood pressure is around 100/60, will nuts and anything to my health? Perhaps they’ll add excess calories and fat that I don’t want.

    • Devin Wiesner

      In addition to the ALA PUFA, walnuts contain Beta Sitosterol (a phytosterol that has been shown to lower cholesterol) and pedunculagin (a polyphenol also found in pomegranates) and tocopherols (forms of Vitamin E). The improved endothelial function most likely is a result of a combination of these nutrients.

      • Perry

        Thank you, Devin

    • MacSmiley

      will nuts [add] anything to my health?

      At the very least, pleasure and variety to your WFPB diet. Variety is a good thing nutritionally speaking. “Blue Zone” Adventists who eat nuts live 2 years longer than those who don’t. (Blue Zones, Buettner, page 165)

  • Kathy

    Does anyone know of a budget friendly plant based diabetic meal plan

    • Mary Ann

      Kathy, I can relate! A lot of vegan/vegetarian recipes call for such unusual items that you can feel nickel-dimed to death! Add to your pantry slowly, trying one new thing at a time – really explore that new item to get the best use out of it and learn about its versatility (EX: flax). Some simple ideas here:

    • MacSmiley

      Dried beans and lentils are very economical.

      Minimizing spoilage helps. Cruciferous veggies keep well in the fridge, allowing me to apportion them without spoiling. Ripen fruit at room temp, then refrigerate. Etc.

      • val

        Heck you can buy 1 pound of dried black beans in the dollar stores for …guess what…$1!!! Lentils can be found at most Wal-Mart stores too for around $1…! great stuff! vv

        • dandan

          It varies from place to place in price, of course. As an aside, the Mormons have a religious prerogative to keep a supply of food in long-term storage, and, conveniently enough, dry legumes are appropriate for long-term storage. If you are willing to commit in volume in order to capture lower prices, you may want to see if the LDS have a food storage center near you, what their policy is, and whether they carry 25 pound sacks for sale. I got my recent supply of beans from them and though the beans are smaller than usual (not necessarily a bad thing) and do need to be sorted before soaking (some store bought types basically don’t), it’s very hard to beat the price.

    • Karen Andrews

      Hi Kathy, Dr. Neal Barnard has a book, “Dr. Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes” which has plant-based recipes. I prefer the easy to prepare recipes in Dr. John McDougall’s books. Many of the recipes are available for free on his website, They are tasty and don’t require fancy ingredients. Good luck!

    • b00mer

      Hi Kathy, in addition to the great resources already mentioned, you might also want to check out Jeff Novick. His cooking style is very cheap, very fast and easy, and always low fat, whole foods plant-based (i.e. diabetic-friendly!). The link below is for a facebook album of his of cheap, simple recipes. He describes them as taking less than 5 minutes, having 5 ingredients or less, and being less than $5 (and you can decrease this cost quite a bit by choosing dried beans or even generic canned beans over the “premium” Eden brand canned beans he uses).

  • Anita Turner

    my mom use to have high cholesterol and was diabetic, I helped her change her diet to vegan and we added a daily snack of walnuts. This helps to confirm her normal cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, walnuts help improve both.

  • Kathy

    Thank you all for replying!

  • MacSmiley

    Looks like I’m breaking a weight loss plateau with a couple of diet tweaks. Instead of 1/2 of a honking big avocado, I tapered back to 2 oz/day and stopped binging on frozen mango. But walnuts? They’re staying put!!

  • Jaen Martens

    Walnuts seem to inflame my gums and cause severe toothache! What other nuts work well, I wonder? I am mainly vegan, nondairy and have a good low blood pressure.

  • doda

    weirld but I thought olive oil is good for arterial function from recent studies !

    • Karen Andrews

      Hi Doda,
      Dr. Robert Vogel did the research study showing that olive oil, which is 14% saturated fat, inflamed the endothelial lining of the arteries:

      Dr. Dean Ornish, heart reversal diet expert, also chimed in:

      And Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, equally renowned clinician who has documented heart disease reversal in his book:

      • val

        heh! LOVE Dr. Essy in this clip!!! Thanks for posting it!
        I love my walnuts 3-4 times each week in my oats!

        • Mike Quinoa

          Agreed Val. I add walnuts to my steel-cut oats, along with either blackberries or cranberries, and some unsweetened soy milk. I always have to have a cooked breakfast to start my day.

    • fineartmarcella

      Oil isn’t healthy, olive oil shown only a minute improvement over other oil and boy did the marketing grab hold of it! Our human bodies were never designed to ingest such a highly concentrated item as oil. There is no such thing as concentrated oil as a food found in nature, ever see an oil plant or an oil tree? Our livers go into overdrive within 5 minutes of eating oil just trying to detoxify it it takes the liver up to 2 hrs just to handle it. All oils cause inflammation and increase arterial pressures including coronary artery (in the heart) spasm especially in women and can bring on chest pain or worse. Next time you have a high fat meal check your pulse prior to the meal, you will find it has increased afterwards…

  • albert

    This is definitely such a great thing to know. A couple questions on topic
    – are flax seeds are just as much beneficial (given even better W-3/6 profile and anti-cancer properties). I remember seeing in other video where studies showed even a bit of peanuts was good for cardiac health.
    – what if I am on low-fat WFPB diet Ornish-McDoug-Ess style (since I have no discomfort I’m doing a strict version while hoping to clean some of my arteries from before China Study years:)), can I afford an ounce of walnuts per day/few days? Should I exclude my daily 1-2 tbsp of flax (some mix)?
    – another two products with some studies on endothelial function improvement were cocoa and garlic, would be very nice to know an up-to-date expert’s take of Dr.Greger’s and NF team on these too…

    • Toxins

      Because of the high content of omega 3, high content of lignans, and countless studies showing great benefit of flax, I would not exclude it from your diet. Walnuts are definitely more fatty, but a 1/4 cup a day would not cause heart disease. I think the essylsten approach works best when you actually have heart disease.

      • albert

        Many thanks for your reply Toxins! I guess flax is indeed too good to be let go of :)

        Regarding stricts version of LF WFPB diet I’m acting on assumption anyone who “enjoyed” western diet for a number of years has some degree of heart disease (again remembering China Study fragment about young soldiers and also Dr.Greger speaking about initial stages of CVD found in younger populations). I also keep in mind Dr.Ornish’s words that the more adherence the better results (with mediocre adherence leading basically to no improvement even if not worsening). So I’d guess anyone would benefit from some period of strict following (no nuts for a while??), especially if it is surprisingly pretty simple and easy.. :)
        ps personally I am on this version since Jan 1 and now I don’t feel discomfort in my heart area I felt after strenuous 1+ hr workouts before, which feels so good

        • Toxins

          I agree, those following a western style diet probably have developed early stages of heart disease. But still, an ounce of nuts, especially walnuts in your oatmeal, or something of that nature, will not hurt your diet. I think the problem arises when nuts make up a greater bulk of our caloric intake, as an ounce of walnuts is about 200 calories, and this is only a 1/4 cup. Because nuts in general are so high in omega 6 and throws off the omega6:3 ratio, this may also hurt the quality of the diet when including nuts and seeds. Flax and walnuts are the rare exceptions with great omega 3 ratios. If we are talking about including or excluding a 1/4 cup of walnuts, I don’t think it will cause harm in the big picture, especially since they are so anti inflammatory, as this video demonstrates.

          • Ben

            Had these studies focused on, say, pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts, I am confident the same positive results would have been found. I see no reason to add walnuts if my seed intake is sufficient.

          • Joe

            That may well be true – but walnuts do appear to have some antioxidant compounds not found in other nuts and seeds that may make a difference. The omega 3/6 ratio is important, but probably not so much for people who are avoiding vegetable oils or other rich omega 6 sources.

          • Toxins

            Seeds, other then flax, generally have extremely poor ratios of omega 6:3. This can lead to a poor conversion rate of your ALA omega 3 to DHA and EPA. A great ratio is 4:1, of omega 6:3 respectively which walnuts satisfy and flax excels.

            Seeds are healthy though, and I agree, an ounce of walnuts swapped for an ounce of seeds would probably be beneficial as well.

          • Don Forrester MD

            In addition to the omega 6:3 issue which Toxins and Dr. Greger have given a good review of the current science. Nuts and seeds also are a good source of minerals and most likely contain other ingredients that we don’t yet understand can contribute to health. Dr. Esselstyn advises his patients with clinically significant heart disease to avoid nuts and he has had outstanding results. His most recent paper has been accepted for publication and should come out in the near future. Bottom line for me at this time is an ounce of nuts or seeds per day as a general population recommendation is fine unless of course you have an allergy or specific condition for not consuming them.

          • Ben

            But if you eat a lowfat WFPB diet, and consume one tablespoon of flax per day, per Dr. Gregor’s recommendation, it wouldn’t matter what the other one ounce of nuts or seeds comes from, whether its walnuts or pumpkin seeds, your omega 6/3 ratio will be in the optimal range.

          • Toxins

            2 tablespoons would be better, as recommended by Dr. Greger

            But yes, after 2 tablespoons an ounce of any nut would not hurt the ratio, although peanuts maybe.

            But even so, I think that is a small detail that is not a major problem overall

          • Ben

            One thing I have noticed is, one tablespoon of flax seeds equals about two tablespoons of ground up flax. I always just put one tablespoon of whole seed in my coffee grinder and eat that. Should I do two tablespoons of whole flax seed? I think that would be too much.

          • Thea

            Ben: Wow. I never thought of that. I always grind up an amount where the ground flax fills a peanut butter jar and keep it in the fridge. So, I never gave it much thought about pre vs post measuring.

            Your comment really caught my eye because this is one of the issues that gives me angst when it comes to cooking. “Oh no. The recipe calls for 1 cup chopped __” So, is that one cup before or after chopping???? ;-0

            For what it’s worth, it’s my understanding that the recommendation is for 2 tablespoon flaxseed, measured post grounding. I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I got that wrong.

          • Toxins

            1 tablespoon whole is 10 grams of flax, while 1 tablespoon ground is 7 grams of flax if that helps you make a determination.

  • doda

    ok here is the study 2014 that say olive oil is good. so confusing !!

    • MacSmiley

      Did EVOO replace any other fat in that study, making it look comparatively good?

      • analysis

        the sample may not reflect general population as it is from those already with diabetes. On the other hand , this experiment shows that nuts is good but olive oil is 2 times more effective than nuts for this sample population.

    • Karen Andrews

      Hi Doda, That study’s methodology was very flawed. Even the authors note that in 2006, the protocol for the control group was significantly modified. Here’s one critique of many:

  • James

    Walnuts and Pecans don’t like me. What’s the next best nut?

    • MacSmiley

      How about pistachios?

      • James

        Thanks. I have no allergy to them, so i’ll definitely be adding some to my diet.

  • fineartmarcella

    That was the fastest I’ve ever heard you speak!! Too much coffee :) ! haha, actually, I like your normal voice, I lost track totally in what you were saying, didn’t have time to think of what you were saying :(. I like your regular pace…

  • 1stnewmy

    So what are you going to tell Dr. Esselstyn?

    • val

      Doesn’t Doc Essy say if you have *major* heart problems to avoid nuts? Just saying.

    • b00mer

      Esselstyn, McDougall, Novick, Barnard, Fuhrman, and Greger all agree that 1 ounce nuts per day is fine (excluding patients with advanced CVD).

      “For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable.” -Esselstyn

  • Gabe

    Nature is a genius. It has all the perfect systems to protect itself against predators and the threat of eradication. Starting with its source: the seeds, nature’s reproductive system. They need to survive storms, rain, high temperatures, animals, man. Their natural defence systems include enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances that will be removed naturally once the ideal circumstances are gathered to germinate those seeds for a new plant or tree. When you are not sure about what to do, look at nature and do the same. A seed uses rain to remove the toxins and to bring the enzymes to life. We have to mimic those natural actions to optimise these foods before consuming them safely. By soaking your nuts and seeds you will minimize or eliminate the toxic substances inside of nuts and seeds. These are:
    Enzyme inhibitors (who make it difficult to digest them properly)
    Phytates (phytic acid)
    Polyphenols (tannins)

    Almonds- 8 to 12 hours at room temperature
    Walnuts- 4 hours at room temperature
    Sesame seeds- 8 hours at room temperature
    Sunflower seeds- 2 hours at room temperature
    All other nuts- 6-24 hours at room temperature

    • Toxins

      In general, the “anti nutrients” do not actually cause nutrient deficiencies, and they actually improve the quality of the diet as they serve antioxidant functions and other roles.

      Sprouting though does significantly increase the antioxidant content of plant foods.

      • Joe

        Good point. I think the anti-nutrients are taken a bit too seriously. Phytic acid has some very positive effects in the body, and the actual effect on mineral levels seems to be pretty minimal.

  • William Dwyer

    Did you see the article “The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease” published in the May 6, 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal? How does stuff like this make it past the Journal’s medical editors?

    • pining

      Bear in mind that this is the same outfit that published Taubes’ article and launched his career. A relatively straightforward explanation for the article is that this is a Saturday Essay, and is probably meant to be relatively fluffy and more edgy than uncontroversially true. For instance, “Why Asian Mothers are Superior” was another article in this category. Editorial review is probably minimal, and may be even less these days as the mainline media face more competition from small and often subjectivist outfits in the blogosphere. Who is this Nina Teicholz character, anyway? If she had an MD or PhD it seems like they would have pushed that to the front of her bio.

      The Times may also realize that it has lost substantial credibility with people like the people that frequent this site when they published Taubes’ article and that people who identify with nutritional vegetarianism are a minority compared with those who want to hear that they can eat the foods that they like without significant worries, and are interested in the issue because they are struggling with weight and health. Just a hypothesis, though. I don’t really know what makes their audience tick and how the publication thinks about that information.

      • b00mer

        Q: “Who is this Nina Teicholz character, anyway?”

        A: Someone with a new book coming out!

        From the bottom of the WSJ article:
        “Ms. Teicholz has been researching dietary fat and disease for nearly a decade. Her book, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” will be published by Simon & Schuster on May 13.”

        According to her linkedin, she’s an “Independent Writing and Editing Professional”. Not a scientist, not a statistician, not a medical professional. The comparison to Taubes is appropriate, indeed.

  • bluesdoc

    I love nuts but they sure taste better roasted! Same benefit as raw? I hope so.

    • Toxins

      Nut antioxidants are better absorbed roasts, but AGE’s may be of concern. According to JEff Novick, Advanced Glycation End-products are considered toxic molecules formed by heating foods and are thought to increase the risk and severity of many diseases including the metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cancer. AGE’s are also thought to contribute to diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and aging.

      AGE Amounts In Food (per serving)

      Starchy vegetables

      Corn, 20

      Sweet potato, roasted, 72

      White potato, boiled, 17

      White potato, french fries, homemade, 694

      White potato, french fries, fast food, 1,522

      White potato, roasted, 45 min, prepared with 5 mL oil, 218


      Bean, red kidney, raw, 116

      Bean, red kidney, canned, 191

      Bean, red kidney, cooked, 1 h, 298

      Pasta, cooked 8 min, 112

      Bran Flakes, 10

      Corn Flakes, 70

      Frosted Flakes, 128

      Oatmeal, dry, instant, 4

      Oatmeal, cooked, instant 25


      Whole wheat, center, 16

      Whole wheat, center toasted, 25

      Whole wheat, crust, 22

      Whole wheat, crust, toasted, 36

      Pita pocket, 16


      Apple 13

      Apple, baked, 45

      Banana, 9

      Cantaloupe, 20

      Raisins, 36

      High Fat Plant Foods

      Almonds, roasted, 1,995

      Avocado, 473

      Cashews, roasted 2,942

      Olive, ripe 501

      Peanut butter, smooth 2,255

      Walnuts, roasted 2,366

      High Fat Animal Products

      Cream cheese, 3,265

      Mayonnaise, 9,470

      Butter, 1,324


      Frankfurter, boiled 7 min, 6,736

      Frankfurter, broiled 5 min, 10,143

      Hamburger, fried 6 min, 2,375

      Hamburger, fast food, 4,876

      Meatball, boiled in sauce, 2,567

      Shoulder cut, broiled, 5,367

      Bacon, microwave, 1,173

      Deli ham, smoked, 2,114

      Pork chop, pan fried, 4,277

      Chicken breast, skinless cubes

      Steamed 10 min and broiled 12 min, 5,071

      Pan fried 10 min and boiled 12 min, 5,706

      Chicken breast, skinless cutlet

      Raw, 692

      Boiled 1 h, 1,011

      Broiled 15 min, 5,245

      Fried 8 min, 6,651

      Roasted, barbecue sauce, 4,291

      Roasted, breaded, 4,102

      Roasted, breaded, microwave, 1 min, 5,157


      Salmon, raw, 502

      Salmon, smoked, 515

      Trout, raw, 705

      Trout, roasted 25 min, 1,924


      American, processed, 2,603

      American, processed, low fat, 1,425

      Brie, 1,679

      Cottage cheese, 1,744

      Feta 2,527

      Mozzarella, part skim, 503

      Parmesan, grated, 2,535

  • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

    Nuts and seeds (and whole grains, soy and legumes) contain high levels of phytates – ‘anti-nutrients’ that block the absorption of these minerals and vitamins (particularly zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium). High intakes of phytate-rich foods in the diet (particularly in vegetarian diets) can actually cause mineral deficiencies as the phytates inhibit the absorption of minerals not only in these foods, but in other foods eaten in combination with them (e.g. the calcium in dairy if consumed in a meal with nuts).

    – See more at:

    • Toxins

      “In general, the “anti nutrients” do not actually cause nutrient deficiencies, and they actually improve the quality of the diet as they serve antioxidant functions and other roles.

      • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

        And what about the other issues from the article: Phytates in nuts and seeds also interfere with the enzymes we need to digest our food, including amylase (required for the breakdown of starch), pepsin (needed to breakdown proteins in the stomach) and trypsin (needed for effective protein digestion in the small intestine). Nuts and seeds may contain some protein, but this protein is not well assimilated and absorbed in the human digestive tract, if at all.

        Nuts and seeds are rich in polyunsaturated oils – wrongly touted as ‘healthy’ oils but far, far from it. These fats suppress metabolism, contributing to weight gain, tissue destruction, free radical damage, insulin resistance and a whole host of other health problems. See this post for more. These fats are highly unstable – prone to oxidation and rancidity – you’d be hard-pressed to find ‘fresh’ nuts around that aren’t actually already rancid.

        The polyunsaturated fats in nuts and seeds suppress energy metabolism and thyroid hormone, and actually contribute to weight gain – See more at:

        • JacquieRN

          Hello Mindaugas, you may want to view the other videos, review the Sources Cited and comments for previous discussion on phytates here:

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            OK, thanks.

          • JacquieRN

            My pleasure!

        • Toxins

          It is difficult to come to neutral conclusions on nutrition when the studies are being interpreted by another author. It is best to draw conclusions based on the primary resources.

          Cooking eliminates trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid and most other antinutrients. Even without cooking though, these antinutrients do not cause disease conditions, nor do they cause nutrient deficiencies. The evidence shows benefit to phytic acid consumption. The statements in the article you shared are over hyped.

          Polyunsaturated fats are the only fats required by the body. The problem may arise from over consuming omega 6, but omega 3 is also a polyunsaturated fat. The statements of polyunsaturated fats being harmful come from the idea of overcooking polyunsaturated oils, which no one is recommending. The fats in nuts and seeds are actually quite stable, and even some cooking will not cause oxidation, as evidenced with flaxseeds.

          “ALA in whole and milled flaxseed also appears to be stable to heat equal or greater than the temperatures involved in baking batters and doughs such as muffins and yeast bread. Thermal stability was shown in 1992 by the absence of significant changes in peroxide values and fatty acid composition when both forms of flaxseed were heated for 60 minutes at either 100°C (212°F) or 350°C (662°F)”

          “Storage effects:
          Flaxseed, either whole or coarsely ground, appears
          stable to long-term storage at room temperature. Even after 308 days at 22°C (72°F) there was essentially no change in peroxide value as a measure of oxidation by-products or in the percentage of ALA in fat extracted from the stored flaxseed samples5. This demonstration of oxidative stability in common storage was later confirmed by direct measurement of oxygen consumption. One gram samples of whole flaxseed, milled flaxseed and extracted flax oil were held in individual sealed glass tubes for 280 days at room temperature with 12h alternating dark/light cycles. All three preparations showed little change in headspace oxygen during this time although the flax oil sample was more variable.”

          You can tell in the article you cited, the nutritionist is more on the “fad” style of diets with her recommendation of coconut oil.

          Antinutrients are not something to worry about for the general population.

  • Linda N

    Yikes! Tree nuts! An ER trip for a lot of us!

  • Amanda

    I wonder if there is any difference in benefit between raw vs. cooked/baked walnuts?

  • Sebastian Tristan

    I consume everyday: 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, 4 tablespoons of pistachios and 2 tablespoons of pecans (and I do it in a delicious manner =D ). I will get some blood tests soon so I shall be able to say if there is an improvement in my health markers compared to the times I did not consume all these fatty nuts/seeds. I mean, the question whether we can consume too much nuts/seeds needs to be addressed. Nonetheless, one thing is clear so far: while consuming the above-mentioned foods, I managed to lose weight. I did exercise more and consumed less of other foods, but I still managed to lose fat. Now, I’m very close to the leanest I’ve been in my life.

  • Terry

    How many walnuts does one need to eat to get the right amount of Omega 3’s daily? I know flax has the most concentrated form of ground flax, but if you can’t and can eat walnuts, what is the equivalent in walnuts?

  • susan hyman

    is there any validity to claim that nuts should be soaked and dried

  • Shaylene

    I assume that you are familiar with the raw till 4 vegan lifestyle? I was thinking about trying this out. I wanted to know your thoughts on how health beneficial this diet would be if I were to include B12 supplements, 5 cups of legumes per week, adequate grain intake (after 4), 1 ounce of nuts daily, and adequate omega 3 intake from seeds by your recommendation from a combination of your videos? Thank you!

  • Craig

    Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in his book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” recommends that folks like me who’ve had bypass surgery not eat nuts. Your recommendation on walnuts is more current and seems to dispute Esselstyn. What would you recommend for folks with a history of heart disease who’ve gone “all in” with heart-healthy diets?