Live longer in a nutshell

By | Health & Wellness
Eating nuts can help you live longer credit@Martin Weller flickr.com

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reinforces the health benefits of regularly eating nuts and concludes that 28 grams of nuts, seven days a week might result in a longer life expectancy.

The scientific study followed 76,464 females and 42,498 males’ health professionals participating in the US Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2010) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2010) for up to 30 years in a cohort study. Participants were asked about their nut intake at the beginning of the study and were questioned every couple of years, with those who passed away monitored in parallel. The researchers then calculated average nut consumption during the study or until a diagnosis of a health condition.

Results found the more frequently people ate nuts, the minimal their likelihood of passing away. Increasing how many nuts were eaten was also linked to good levels of cholesterol, reductions in inflammation, oxidative conditions, body weight and insulin resistance.

First author Dr. Ying Bao, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains the findings: “In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the minimal likelihood they were to pass away over the 30-year follow-up period.” The findings have been significantly noted due to the sheer size of the study and the value of a cohort study. A cohort study identifies a group of people and follows them over a long period of time to see how their exposures affect their outcomes, commonly used in medicine research to look at the effect of suspected factors which unable be controlled experimentally.

This research reinforces the message nuts may form part of a healthy, balanced diet. Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Nuts contain unsaturated fats, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals and make a healthy swap for snacks like chocolate bars, cakes and biscuits.

“Choosing plain, unsalted options rather than honeyed, salted, dry-roasted or chocolate-covered will keep your salt and sugar intake down.” Nuts that grow underground such as cashews, brazils, peanuts and tree nuts in almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts were all accounted for in the study with each providing a different nutritional benefit.

Almonds and Macadamia nuts may be a healthy source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Walnuts contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids to protect and maintain yheart rhythms. Pecans have important B-complex vitamins that play a vital role in cell metabolism. Pine nuts provide a rich source of vitamins A, C, D and lutein.

Hazelnuts may keep the heart from overexerting itself through magnesium, unsaturated fats and vitamin E. Peanuts nutritional properties make them part of the nut family, full of potassium, protein, and vitamin B. Brazil nuts contain the highest amount of saturated fat among other nuts along with selenium, magnesium, and copper. Pistachio nuts are a source of healthy minerals and oleic acid make them a replenishing antioxidant.

Widely regarded as a snack nuts might be easily crafted into daily cooking, with a variety of savoury and sweet options available to suit each nut, here are some tasty ideas to try: Macadamia nut roast, beef satay, baked goat’s cheese with pecan nuts and pear, cashew and chicken curry, almond biscotti, butternut squash and hazelnut risotto, garden salad with pine nuts, cranberries and bacon, pistachio and date loaf, quinoa stir fry with spinach and walnuts. Small portions of nuts need to be included in a regular, varying and healthy diet whether they are eaten on their own or combined in cooking.

How might the intake of nuts improve healthier living?

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