Nuts pack nutritional benefits

December 24, 2013 by Melissa Wdowik

Did you know that nuts may help you live longer?

This could come as a surprise, because nuts have an undeserved reputation of being junk food, but a recent Harvard study of more than 100,000 men and women found that people who eat nuts regularly, even daily, are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease compared to those who do not. The study also found nut eaters were healthier overall, with lower rates of obesity, smaller waists, and and .

According to this and other studies, the following can benefit from nuts in one's diet:

Brain function: Amino acids, vitamins and minerals found in nuts support blood flow to the brain to assist with cognitive tasks, especially as we age.

Heart health: Nuts contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and assist with heart rhythm and .

Weight: Nuts contain high quality protein and fiber that both fill you up and keep you feeling full longer than foods without protein or fiber. This means the potential to eat less and less often.

Diabetes: Nuts have a , and their protein and fiber help prevent spikes in and the crashes that often follow eating simple carbohydrates.

Diverticulosis: In the past, doctors recommended people with diverticulosis avoid nuts because it was thought they would lodge in the intestine and cause inflammation. Instead, current evidence shows the fiber in nuts helps speed digestion and keeps the intestines healthy.

Cancer and respiratory disease: Nuts are abundant in folate, niacin, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phytochemicals. These nutrients offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics.

Given all these accolades, you may be tempted to start snacking on nuts by the handful, but a word of caution: they are high in calories, so eating too many can lead to weight gain, which would just counteract all their positives. So use nuts to replace other foods and limit them to about one ounce per day by using these suggestions, each given in one ounce serving sizes:

  • 28 peanuts can take the place of tortilla chips
  • 48 pistachios are a good substitute for potato chips
  • 24 almonds make a nice trail mix combined with one-quarter of a cup of dried fruit
  • 14 walnut halves taste great added to breakfast cereal
  • 20 pecan halves are a delicious substitute for croutons on a tossed green salad
  • 20 hazelnuts can be toasted and tossed with vegetables such as broccoli or green beans
  • 18 cashews make a satisfying sweet snack in place of candy

When I was a child, we only had nuts in the house on holidays, so I will forever think of my mom's special cookies when I taste walnuts. Perhaps you have a similar memory that you can keep alive by enjoying the taste and health benefits of throughout the year.

Explore further: People who eat nuts have reduced risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease

Related Stories

People who eat nuts have reduced risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease

July 17, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—People who eat nuts, particularly walnuts, are more likely to live longer, finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. In a longitudinal study, researchers suggest that those who ...

Tree nut consumption associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer in women

November 7, 2013
In a large prospective study published online in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers looked at the association between nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer among 75,680 women in the Nurses' Health Study, with ...

Large study links nut consumption to reduced death rate

November 20, 2013
In the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than were those who didn't consume nuts, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer ...

Recommended for you

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.