Nuts are widely considered a healthy snack and a great source of heart-friendly fats, but a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, claims that chowing down a handful a day could actually help you live longer.
The U.S. study followed almost 120,000 individuals over the course of thirty years and found that, as nut consumption increased, the likelihood of death decreased. In fact, people who ate nuts once a week were a full 11% less likely to die during study.
Up the amount of nuts to four portions per week and the participants were 13% less likely to die. Finally, those who ate nuts on a daily basis were a whopping 20% more likely to be alive and well at the study’s end.
Lead researcher Dr. Charles Fuchs, said “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, but we also saw a significant reduction – 11% – in the risk of dying from cancer.”
Of course, the type of nut consumed is a huge factor in the health benefits an individual can reap. Walnuts are best for heart health, almonds do wonders for disease prevention and peanuts are good for your brain, but, overall, the nuts should be raw or lightly roasted and should certainly not be overly salted, chocolate-covered or artificially flavored.
Critics of the study claim that more research is necessary before the correlation can be confirmed. Those who eat nuts every day, they claim, are also more likely to eat other healthy foods, exercise more often and take better care of their overall health.
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