New research suggests that consuming a handful of nuts a day can greatly benefit your health. The study found that eating 20 grams of nuts daily lowers the risk of developing various conditions.
Heart disease risk was found to be reduced by 30 percent, cancer risk lowered by 15 percent, and premature death risk was lowered by 22 percent.
Consuming 20 g of nuts a day was also associated with a risk of death from respiratory disease cut by half and a 40 percent reduction in the risk of diabetes.
The researchers analyzed 29 published studies from around the world which included nearly 819,000 participants, and over 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and more than 85,000 deaths.
Coauthor of the study Dagfinn Aune explained, “In nutritional studies, so far much of the research has been on the big killers such as heart diseases, stroke and cancer, but now we’re starting to see data for other diseases. 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. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”
The study looked at the consumption of all types of nuts. Aune added, “Nuts and peanuts are high in fiber, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats – nutrients that are beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels. Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts, are also high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk. Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fiber and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time.”
The study did note that consuming more than 20 grams of nuts a day did not translate into a greater benefit, so eating more won’t necessarily mean better health outcomes.