An exhaustive medical analysis has revealed the amazing health benefits of nuts. Eating three-quarters of an ounce—about a handful—a day lowers your risk of diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, and cancer.
The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, was led by researchers from Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The massive analysis examines health data from 819,000 subjects across 29 international studies.1
The research accounted for outside factors, such as age, gender, countries where subjects lived, and the health risk factors associated with those countries. The study showed eating nuts each day had a powerful protective effect on health:
- Heart disease was reduced by nearly 30%
- Cancer risk was cut by 15%
- Respiratory disease mortality was cut in half
- Diabetes deaths were reduced by about 40%
- Overall death risk was cut by 22%
Study co-author Dagfinn Aune is a research associate at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London. He said, “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.”2
The study included all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazel, walnuts, pecans, and also peanuts, which are technically not a nut, but a legume. Peanuts were found to have health benefits similar to tree nuts.
Researchers found that more is not necessarily better when it comes to nut consumption. There is no evidence that eating more than 20 grams (3/4 ounce) a day leads to better health outcomes.
The researchers said the health benefits of nuts comes from their nutrient density. Nuts are high in fiber, magnesium, polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants, and protein. All of these help the body maintain optimum health.
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5 Healthiest Kinds of Nuts
There are five varieties of nuts that provide the most health benefits.
1. Almonds: Half a cup of almonds a day has been found to cut the risk of colon cancer. This is because of their magnesium and fiber content. They can also help you lose weight. Research shows eating a quarter cup of almonds a day leads to a 62% greater reduction in weight among obese dieters.
2. Walnuts: Adding them to your diet is a great way to protect your heart. In fact, the FDA once tried to label these nuts a heart drug. But walnuts put prescription drugs to shame. One study found men getting 30% of their dietary fat from walnuts lowered their cholesterol by 10% in a month.3
Walnuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s why eating a handful of them a day can keep your brain sharp. Research shows walnut consumption improves memory, concentration, and coordination in people regardless of age.
3. Pistachios: A Spanish study found a diet high in pistachios helps make subjects’ bodies almost 80% more efficient at using glucose. It means their cells need less fuel to function at full power. Pistachios are also a good source of antioxidants that can lower your lung cancer risk. They are a great way to add protein to your diet.
4. Cashews: They’re a good source of magnesium. It’s a mineral that fights cancer and prevents diabetes. Eating them may help you live longer. One study of over 80,000 people found eating cashews once a week lowers gallstone risk by 25%.4
5. Brazil Nuts: They are packed with selenium. This nutrient boosts your immunity and lowers risk of heart disease by over 20%.5 Men can benefit the most. That’s because the selenium in just one to two Brazil nuts raises testosterone production.
One more thing… Go for variety. That way you can gain many different health benefits. But don’t settle for the stuff in the grocery store snack aisle. Buy organic, raw, and unsalted nuts whenever possible.