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Wide array of health benefits found in a nutshell

by Sasha Crowe Published on 18th Jun 2015

by Sasha Crowe Published on 18th June 2015

A recent study, by Piet A. van den Brandt and Leo J. Schouten, on nuts (and peanuts) has been making headlines, as it links nut and peanut consumption to lower mortality rates.

The study examined the reported nut and peanut intake within the Netherlands Cohort Study, comprised of 120,852 men and women aged 55-69 in 1986, and compared that against mortality follow up until 1996. They found protective effects against overall and cause-specific mortality in both men and women who consumed at least 10g. of nuts and/or peanuts a day, about the equivalent of half a handful.

Respiratory disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease exhibited the greatest reduction in mortality due to nut consumption; cancer and cardiovascular disease also showed lowered mortality rate. Another study by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute concurs with these findings, by finding lowered total mortality among diverse financial and racial groups, as well as an earlier meta-analysis on the topic.
This should come as no surprise, as health benefits associated with nuts and peanuts have been around for a while. For example:

As looked into by the NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, walnuts have shown promising results on protecting against, delaying the onset of, or slowing the progression of the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease, such as reducing oxidative stress. This could be due to the fact that compared to other nuts, walnuts contain the highest quality amount of antioxidants.

Pistachios may lower the overall postprandial glycemic response and have insulin-sparing properties, as found by Kendall et al., which could potentially be beneficial for those dealing with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. They get their trademark green color from lutein, an antioxidant that play an important role in eye and skin health.

Eating an estimated 2 Brazil nuts is enough to fill recommended selenium dietary needs, a mineral that plays a critical role in the production of thyroid hormones. It is not recommended to eat more than 3 Brazil nuts daily, in order to avoid an excess accumulation of the mineral in body tissue.

All in all, whilst the consumption of nuts may not have a huge impact upon lifespan, with all the nutritional advantages offered, it would nonetheless seem rather beneficial to longevity to incorporate at least a small handful of nuts and peanuts whenever possible into one’s diet.