Nuts May Help Prevent Death

Nuts May Help Prevent Death
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Just a few small servings of nuts a week may increase our lifespan and lower cancer risk.

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We’ve known “[i]ncreased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including [heart disease and diabetes].” But do those who eat nuts actually live longer lives? “Clinical trials have shown” nuts help lower cholesterol and oxidation, and improve our arterial function, and blood sugar levels, but does this all translate into greater longevity?

Researchers at Harvard “examined the association between nut consumption and subsequent…mortality” of over a hundred thousand people, followed for decades. In that time, tens of thousands died, but those that ate nuts every day lived significantly longer. Daily nut consumers had fewer cancer deaths, heart disease deaths, and fewer deaths from respiratory disease. And, this was after controlling other lifestyle factors. So, nut consumers lived significantly longer whether they were older or younger, fat or skinny, whether they exercised more or smoked, drank, or ate other foods that may affect mortality.

But, nuts are so filled with fat. “There may be a concern that frequent nut consumption can result in weight gain.” However, that’s not what they found, and, in fact, other studies have associated nut consumption with a slimmer waist, less weight gain, and lower risk of obesity. If you look at all the studies put together, it’s pretty much a wash. Diets enriched with nuts do not seem to affect “body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference” much at all.

Just for a visual, this is one of the most recent such studies, in which subjects were told to add either zero, 70, or 120 pistachios to their daily diet as quite an afternoon snack, every day for three months, and the results looked like this. Can’t even tell which line is which—whether they were eating no nuts, or over 100 a day. Hence, it appears, the incorporation of nuts—around one or two small handfuls a day—would be advisable to ensure various health benefits, without the risk of body weight gain. And, what was nice about this review is that there were no apparent ties to the nut industry.

How nuts do we have to go? Not much. Just a few servings a week may boost our lifespan and lower cancer rates. But, it appears we have to keep it up. In the PREDIMED study, when long-time nut eaters were told to cut down on eating nuts, or choose extra virgin olive oil, within five years, they apparently lost much of their longevity benefit. Only the group that started out eating nuts, and continued to eat at least the same amount of nuts, had the significant survival advantage.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

We’ve known “[i]ncreased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including [heart disease and diabetes].” But do those who eat nuts actually live longer lives? “Clinical trials have shown” nuts help lower cholesterol and oxidation, and improve our arterial function, and blood sugar levels, but does this all translate into greater longevity?

Researchers at Harvard “examined the association between nut consumption and subsequent…mortality” of over a hundred thousand people, followed for decades. In that time, tens of thousands died, but those that ate nuts every day lived significantly longer. Daily nut consumers had fewer cancer deaths, heart disease deaths, and fewer deaths from respiratory disease. And, this was after controlling other lifestyle factors. So, nut consumers lived significantly longer whether they were older or younger, fat or skinny, whether they exercised more or smoked, drank, or ate other foods that may affect mortality.

But, nuts are so filled with fat. “There may be a concern that frequent nut consumption can result in weight gain.” However, that’s not what they found, and, in fact, other studies have associated nut consumption with a slimmer waist, less weight gain, and lower risk of obesity. If you look at all the studies put together, it’s pretty much a wash. Diets enriched with nuts do not seem to affect “body weight, body mass index, or waist circumference” much at all.

Just for a visual, this is one of the most recent such studies, in which subjects were told to add either zero, 70, or 120 pistachios to their daily diet as quite an afternoon snack, every day for three months, and the results looked like this. Can’t even tell which line is which—whether they were eating no nuts, or over 100 a day. Hence, it appears, the incorporation of nuts—around one or two small handfuls a day—would be advisable to ensure various health benefits, without the risk of body weight gain. And, what was nice about this review is that there were no apparent ties to the nut industry.

How nuts do we have to go? Not much. Just a few servings a week may boost our lifespan and lower cancer rates. But, it appears we have to keep it up. In the PREDIMED study, when long-time nut eaters were told to cut down on eating nuts, or choose extra virgin olive oil, within five years, they apparently lost much of their longevity benefit. Only the group that started out eating nuts, and continued to eat at least the same amount of nuts, had the significant survival advantage.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to The Daily Meal

Doctor's Note

For more on nuts and heart disease, see Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering and How Do Nuts Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?

For more on nuts and cancer, see Tree Nuts or Peanuts for Breast Cancer Prevention?

For more on nuts and inflammatory disease, see Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell.

For more than you ever wanted to know about nuts and weight, see Nuts & Obesity: The Weight of Evidence.

What if your physician tells you to not eat nuts because you have diverticulosis? Share this video with them: Diverticulosis & Nuts.

Those 100 pistachios a day may have one side effect, though; see Pistachio Nuts for Erectile Dysfunction.

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