Eating Nuts Regularly Could Protect You From Disease And Lengthen Your Life

Sep 16, 2014 by

Eating Nuts Regularly Could Protect You From Disease And Lengthen Your Life

A Harvard study which spanned 30 years has revealed some health benefits of eating nuts – they reduced risk of death from cancer or heart disease, and even reduced risk of death from any cause.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation and looked at 119,000 persons, discovered the following:


* Study subjects who consumed nuts 7 or more times a week were 20% less likely to die during the study period as compared to those who did not eat nuts at all.

* Less frequent consumption of nuts also decreased the risk of death, proportionally so. For those who ate nuts 2 to 4 times per week, the reduction in risk was 13%; once per week, it was 11%; and less than once a week, it was 7%.

* Those who ate nuts at least 7 times per week were 29% less likely to die of heart disease and 11% less likely to die of cancer when compared to those who didn’t consume a single serving of nuts

* Those who ate nuts were actually slimmer than those who didn’t. “There’s a general perception that if you eat more nuts you’re going to get fat. Our results show the opposite,” said Dr Ying Bao from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who was the leader of the study.


Other points regarding the study:

* Peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts all provided benefits.

* The method of preparation for the nuts was not examined in the study – the nuts could have been raw or roasted, oiled or salted.

* Generally, the study subjects who regularly consumed nuts were healthier – for example, they had lower weight, were less likely to be smokers, and exercised more. Even when the researchers took these factors into account, they still found that nuts benefited health.


More on the study which revealed the health benefits of nuts

Previous research in this area had found that consuming nuts reduced risks of diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, obesity, as well as other ailments.

An important point to note, though – studies like this one cannot ascertain a causal relationship, but only determine correlation. The benefits of eating nuts which were discovered cannot be attributed for certain to the nuts themselves. For example, nut eaters could have consumed them together with salads, or eaten the nuts in place of other unhealthy snacks, and the health benefits observed in this study could have been from those instead.

Even then, the research team leader was “very confident” the nuts really had benefits on health. In order to account for and eliminate other possible explanations, they “did so many analyses, very sophisticated ones.” For example, they split smokers and non-smokers, diabetics and non-diabetics, heavy exercisers and light exercisers, analyzing the groups separately, and still found consistent benefits from nut consumption.

The researchers were not clear which aspects of nuts provided the health benefits. It could have been their unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, or other nutrients.

Eating an assortment of mixed nuts on a regular basis is probably a good way to harness their benefits on health.

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