Daily Nut Consumption Tied to Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer

Walnut in its shell

According to a comprehensive review of more than two dozen studies, consuming just a handful of nuts but on a constant basis can greatly improve heart health and prevent cancer. In the study, an international team of researchers sifted through 29 research papers on the benefits of daily nut consumption.

The Findings

The review involved data on nearly 820,000 people. The study revealed that consuming 1 ounce (20 g) of nuts per day lowered the risk of cardiovascular conditions by 30 percent. The same amount was linked to a 15 percent lower risk of developing cancer in the long run. What’s more, nuts decreased the risk of early death by as much as 22 percent.

In addition, the study linked daily nut consumption to a 40 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the research team acknowledged that data on diabetes was rather scarce in the studies they surveyed.

Co-author Dr Dagfinn Aune of the Imperial College London, in U.K., noted that the link between nuts and lower risk of several disease was “consistent.” The researcher believes there is a real relationship between the super-food and multiple health benefits.

“It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food,”

added Dr. Aune.

The research focused on various types of nuts including hazelnuts and walnuts. Also, it analyzed the health benefits peanuts may bring even though scientifically peanuts are legumes. The research team wrote that the health benefits remained consistent across all types of nuts. Researchers think the phenomenon has something to do with the nutritional value of the food.

Dr. Aune explained that both peanuts and nuts are rich in healthy fats aka polyunsaturated fats, fiber and magnesium. Past studies had shown polyunsaturated fats can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke while keeping bad cholesterol in check.

Pecan nuts and walnuts are rich in antioxidants which is why they may be powerful tools to stave off cancer and premature aging. Despite nuts’ high fat content paradoxically they can prevent obesity in the long term.

The study’s results appeared in the British medical journal BMC Medicine.

Other Health Benefits of Nuts

The latest findings are in line with past research on the health benefits of different types of nuts. For instance, past studies found almonds are so rich in calcium that almond milk can successfully replace dairy in a vegetarian diet. Almonds are also rich in flavonoids which protect the heart.

Additionally, Brazil nuts help patients with a low thyroid function because they’re rich in selenium, a mineral that helps with thyroid hormone production. An adult’s recommended daily intake of Selenium is contained in 3-4 Brazil nuts.

Cashews are also a healthy addition to a vegetarian diet because they’re packed with protein, iron and zinc. They also contain plenty of magnesium which improves mood and memory function.

Chestnuts are low in fats but very rich in fiber and healthy carbs. They are also a reliable source of vitamin C and B vitamins. In some parts of the world, people use chestnut flour in their diet or simply buy roast chestnuts as a healthy snack.
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