Handful of Nuts a Day Keeps Disease Away

Handful of Nuts a Day Keeps Disease AwayHandful of Nuts a Day Keeps Disease Away

With their rich content of fiber, low saturated fats, and high levels of antioxidants, nuts are one of the healthiest and most nutritious snacks. New research shows that the health benefits of nuts may be even more wide-ranging than we think.

Nuts are packed with nutritional value. Rich in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and various antioxidants, nuts have earned their spot in the “superfood” category.

So far, research has shown nut consumption to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer, but new research suggests their health benefits may extend well beyond these major diseases.

Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway analyzed 29 existing studies from around the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia and tracked down associations between nuts intake and risk of various illnesses.

The findings have been published in the journal BMC Medicine, reported.

The analysis included 819,448 participants and over 12,300 cases of coronary heart disease, more than 9,200 cases of stroke, more than 18,600 cases of CVD, and around 18,400 cases of cancer.

The study examined the link between nut consumption and mortality from a variety of causes, such as respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease, and kidney disease.

It included all kinds of tree nuts - hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, and pine nuts, as well as peanuts, which are actually legumes.

Consuming a handful of nuts daily was associated with an overall 22% decrease in the risk of all-cause mortality.

The analysis revealed that as little as 20 grams a day - the equivalent of a handful - can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 30%, the risk of CVD by 21%, and the risk of all cancers by 15%.

The risk of respiratory disease was shown to decrease by more than half, at 52%. Eating a handful of nuts every day also decreased the risk of diabetes by almost 40% and the risk of infectious diseases by 75%.

Both peanuts and tree nuts seemed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, CVD, and mortality, but only peanuts reduced the risk of stroke. Additionally, only tree nuts were linked to a decreased risk of cancer.

Study lead author Dagfinn Aune, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, says, “We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”

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