Here’s some news to go nuts about. Exciting research found that simply adding one food to your diet could drastically slash your risk of dying. According to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine eating nuts could save your life. The researchers found that eating a handful of nuts on a daily basis cut the risk of premature death from any serious illnesses by 20 percent, including erious conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The study examine 76,464 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants who had a history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke were excluded to avoid influencing the results. Nut consumption was assessed at the beginning and every two to four years throughout the study, which continued for the equivalent of 3,038,853 person-years.
Nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of mortality from any cause among both men and women, after making adjustments for other known or suspected risk factors. The scientists also found significant reductions in death due to respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer among those eating nuts with the greatest frequency.
For those readers thinking that nut consumption can cause weight gain, the study also showed that not only was nut consumption not linked to weight gain, it was linked to a decreased risk of obesity, smaller waist size, and less weight gain than individuals who don’t eat nuts. In other words, nuts can play an important role in a healthy diet, including a weight loss plan.
Nut consumption was also been linked to a reduction in free radical damage, inflammation, fat accumulation, high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance (a condition in which the body does not respond properly to insulin to regulate blood sugar levels), as well as a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, hypertension, gallstones, diverticulitis (a condition in which the colon becomes misshapen), and death from inflammatory disease. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions involving excessive amounts of abdominal fat, imbalanced cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
While the exact life-preserving mechanism is not known, nuts are nutritional powerhouses with plentiful amounts of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and magnesium so it is possible that any or all of these factors play a role in reducing the risk of death from disease.
For best results enjoy a handful or two of raw, unsalted cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, or other nuts on a daily basis. Ideally, purchase fresh nuts that are stored in the refrigerator section of your local health food store since the oils in nuts are volatile and are easily damaged from heat or storage. I typically recommend them as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to regulate hunger and blood sugar levels to help people restore their health and lose weight.
For more information about foods that boost longevity and reduce weight see my book 60 Seconds to Slim.