Look What a Handful of Nuts Can Do for You
By Sandy Schroeder
We have always known that nuts were a healthy choice, but new research from the Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology says eating 20 grams of nuts, about a handful, can reduce the risk of many serious diseases.
What a Handful of Nuts May Do
- Reduce the risk of cancer by 15 percent
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 30 percent
- Reduce the risk of death from diabetes by 40 percent
- Reduce the risk of premature death by 22 percent
- Reduce the risk of death from respiratory disease by 50 percent
Some 819,000 people were involved in 20 studies in which researchers analyzed the health effects of nuts. The participants ate hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts, but the overall effect was similar. The nuts decreased the risk of disease.
Co-author Dagfinn Aune, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, 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."
Researchers believe the nuts have such a strong effect because they are filled with nutrients such as fiber, magnesium and polyunsaturated fats. These are the nutrients linked to heart health and healthy cholesterol levels. Also some nuts such as pecans and walnuts contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer. The nuts also contain healthy fat which works with fiber and protein to cut the risk of obesity.
Researchers recommend sticking with the handful of nuts daily to reduce your disease risk. Future research may suggest additional benefits.
Adding Nuts to Your Diet
Making the most of this information could inspire many of us to use nuts in a variety of ways. You may want to chop walnuts into your salad, make a pecan treat, or create a savory sauce with cashews. Kids may find small bags of nuts in their lunch, while moms and dads add them to their afternoon snack break. Peanut butter and almond butter work along with handfuls of almonds, and hazelnuts. Chopped nuts can also be added to homemade cookies or loaves of bread.
Without question, nuts are a healthy addition to your diet and should be consumed as part of a nutritious meal plan.
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