Nuts might be one of the most misunderstood foods. Many people avoid these delicious, protein-rich treats, fearing they are high in calories and fat. But ongoing studies show the health benefits of nuts. Nut consumption has been linked to heart health and to a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, bowel disease and several other conditions.
Indeed, nuts offer such a health boost that a research team recently announced that people who ate a handful of nuts each day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause than were those who didn’t consume nuts! The scientists, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, examined nut consumption in a large population over the course of 30 years—the largest study of its kind.
Said Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber, “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America. But we also saw a significant reduction—11 percent—in the risk of dying from cancer.”
Which type of nuts yield the best results? The team found that the reduction in mortality was similar in all the tree nuts—walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios and pine nuts. Peanuts, too, were found to have a protective effect.
The scientists also dispelled the commonly held misconception that nuts are a no-no if we are trying to avoid an unhealthy weight gain. In the study, those who consumed nuts were more slender than those who didn’t.
So, we can be forgiven for making the obvious pun: we’d be nuts not to eat nuts!
Source: AgeWise reporting on a news release from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org)
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Speak to your healthcare provider about a diet that is right for you, and if you have experienced symptoms suggesting an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts.