According to a large study, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts.
Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, contains further good news: The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts.
The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America. Scientists also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer.
Whether any specific types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.
Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption has also been linked to a reduction in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations.
In all these analyses, “the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period,” explained the author of the report. Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 percent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 percent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 percent reduction; and seven or more times a week, a 20 percent reduction in death rate.
The authors noted the findings are strongly consistent with “a wealth of existing observational and clinical trial data to support health benefits of nut consumption on many chronic diseases.” In fact, based on previous studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2003 that eating 1½ ounces per day of most nuts “may reduce the risk of heart disease.”Resource: Health Guide