A daily dose of nuts-walnuts, almonds, pistachios- can make up for a heart-healthy diet, according to Mayo Clinic researchers.

Most nuts contain some nutrients that can benefit heart health and help with cholesterol control. They include unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, 1-arginine and plant sterols. Nuts have been shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood.

Eating nuts also can reduce the risk of developing blood clots and improve the health of the lining of the arteries. The above benefits suggest that eating nuts, in limited amounts, may reduce the risk of heart disease, though studies haven’t yet proved this conclusively.

Almost any type of nut is nutritious - and high in calories. It is best to eat nuts in moderation, no more than a handful a day. Also, choose unsalted or low-salt versions and use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats, such as those found in meats, eggs and dairy products.

The study has been published in the latest issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Source.