NIBBLING on nuts could keep your ticker timely.
New Swedish research has found eating several servings of nuts per week may help lower the risk of developing the heart rhythm irregularity, atrial fibrillation.
The Karolinska Institutet study also suggests eating lots of nuts may also lessen the risk of heart failure, but the results were not as clear.
Researchers looked at responses from the Food Frequency Questionnaire, which gathered lifestyle information from more than 61,000 Swedish 45-83 year olds. Their cardiovascular health was then tracked for 17 years.
They found the more often nuts were included in the diet, the lower was the associated risk of atrial fibrillation.
But these people also tended to be better educated and to have healthier lifestyles than those who didn't include nuts in their diet. They were less likely to smoke or to have a history of high blood pressure. And they were leaner, more physically active, drank more alcohol and ate more fruit and vegetables.
Eating a serving of nuts one to three times a month was associated with a lowered risk of just 3 per cent, rising to 12 per cent when eating them once or twice a week, and to 18 per cent when eating them three or more times a week.
The findings for heart failure were less consistent: moderate, but not high, weekly nut consumption was associated with a 20 per cent lower risk.
Each additional portion of nuts eaten during the week was associated with a 4 per cent lowering in atrial fibrillation risk.
The findings were published in Heart.