To live a long, healthy life, go a little nuts — every day.That’s the takeaway of a study published Monday in the BMC Medicine journal, which found that munching a handful of nuts on a daily basis cuts the risk of a wide range of diseases — from cancer to heart disease. As holiday parties loom, the timely findings expand on already-known health pluses of eating nuts of all kinds, including peanuts, which are actually legumes.
Researchers at the Imperial College of London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed 29 previously published studies involving 819,000 subjects. They found that people who eat about a handful of nuts a day have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as respiratory conditions, diabetes and infections.
“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,” said study co-author Dagfinn Aune from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”
While nuts are quite high in fat, they are also great sources of fiber and protein and rich in magnesium and polyunsaturated fats. Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecans, are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Earlier studies didn’t distinguish between unsalted and salted nuts, according to Aune. “My best guess would be that it’s better to eat even salted nuts than not eating nuts at all,” she told the Daily News.