A study published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine states that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study also found that people who ate nuts every day weighted less.
The nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality was looked at in the Nurses’ Health Study and in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Researchers found that eating a handful of nuts was inversely associated with total mortality in men and women. The results were independent of other predictors for mortality. The nuts included peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. The amount was 3 tablespoons, eating seven times or more every week.
Specifically, there was an 11% reduction in cancer rates, a 29% reduction in heart disease and a decrease in respiratory diseases. Overall, compared with those who did not eat nuts, those who ate nuts seven or more times per week had a 20% lower death rate. Nuts have an optimal lipid profile (good fats) and a high fiber content, along with high quality protein, vitamins, and phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytosterols. These results are consistent with results found in other, smaller studies.