Go a little nutty — it’s good for your health. New research suggests that eating nuts may be key to keeping the doctor away.
The research is based on a meta-analysis of 29 studies from across the globe, conducted by researchers from the Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. They found that eating a handful of nuts every day significantly reduces your risk of serious and potentially deadly diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness and diabetes.
The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggests that consuming roughly a handful — or 20 grams — of nuts — including hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans and peanuts — on a daily basis can have the following health benefits:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease by 30 percent.
- Lower the risk of cancer by 15 percent.
- Reduce the risk of dying prematurely by 22 percent.
- Decrease diabetes risk by roughly 40 percent.
According to the Imperial College London website, study co-author Dagfinn Aune from Imperial’s School of Public Health characterizes the study as finding a relationship between eating nuts and a reduction of risk for many diseases. “It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food,” she says.
Nuts and peanuts are high in fiber, polyunsaturated fats and magnesium, which can reduce cholesterol levels and slash the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aune explains:
“Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts are also high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk. Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fibre and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time.”
In this case, researchers say eating more than a handful of nuts each day is not associated with higher health outcomes, so don’t gorge yourself on a family size bag of peanuts. Just stick to a handful of nuts each day to cash in on the potential health benefits.
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