December 11th, 2013

Go Nuts! A Handful of Nuts a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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Groovy Green Livin Nuts

I’m on a mission to add more nuts to my diet. The occasional handful isn’t cutting it anymore and there’s a reason.

After listening to a recent edition of Science Friday on National Public Radio, A Handful of Nuts, a Lifetime of Benefits?  I’m convinced that nuts are where it’s at for our health. Yes, I know there are a tremendous amount of allergies out there, but for the purpose of this piece I’m taking that factor out of this discussion.

Study Finds Consuming Nuts Reduces Death Rate

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t.

The study followed 118,000 individuals for over 30 years those who ate nuts 7 or more times per week and found that they had a 20 percent reduction in dying from any cause.

Wow. 20 percent is a lot.

And any type of nut works. The study didn’t see a difference in the type of nut eaten, but rather focused on all nuts including “tree nuts” and peanuts (which are technically a legume).

There’s more good news. Higher nut consumption doesn’t only lower your likelihood of dying from a disease, it also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance.

Nothing to blink at.

The study also found there was no difference for men and women. Both should be eating nuts for better health.

But Aren’t Nuts Fattening?

We all know that nuts are fattening. This is probably why I haven’t been eating them by the handful on a daily basis. Let’s face it-an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories, nearly 80 percent from fat.

According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Charles Fuchs, nuts are high in fat-but high in the better types of fats. Dr. Fuchs wonders if  nuts could be having an effect on our metabolism since the study found that although they’re high in fat people who eat a handful each day don’t seem to be getting heavier, but in fact leaner.

Maybe nut eaters lead a healthier lifestyle in general? Or maybe since they’re eating nuts they’re less likely to snack on other fatty, processed foods. Whatever the case may be, in study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they were.

How Many Nuts Should We Be Eating?

Dr. Fuchs suggests eating one serving (one ounce) once a day. This is equivalent to about 24 almonds or 18 cashews.

I’m a walnut, almond and pistachio lover. My plan is to add more organic, raw nuts to my diet. Maybe a New Years resolution?

What’s your favorite type of nut? How often do you eat nuts? After reading this are you planning to add more nuts to your diet?

photo credit: s58y via photopin cc

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12 Responses to “Go Nuts! A Handful of Nuts a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”

  1. My favorite are pistachios. I keep a bag or two at work to snack on occasionally. But it looks like I should change that to snack on daily!

  2. My favorite are almonds – in any way shape or form! I have to remember to take my nuts – they are such an awesome snack. Also excellent in salads.
    Tracey recently posted..Good Planets are Hard to FindMy Profile

  3. I love pistachios too Marsha. I like that they take a bit longer to eat!

  4. I like almonds too Tracey. Right now I’m eating them unsalted and raw. They’re delicious.

  5. I’ve also started eating more nuts – almonds, cashews. The problem is I like them in cookies too:) Kidding aside, I wonder whether or not there will be more nut allergies?
    Ronnie recently posted..Crafting A LegacyMy Profile

  6. You know, since incorporating more nuts in my diet, I’ve found that they can be pretty filling. Just add a little baggie of them to your lunch and you’re set for your protein intake!

  7. I can’t imagine there being any MORE nut allergies Ronnie! Maybe if we continue to eat organic, raw nuts the allergies will decrease?

  8. They are pretty filling James- although I’m addicted to almonds at the moment.

  9. I’m a raw walnut fan. Love them for breakfast with raisins or cranberries. Also, a tasty addition to my oatmeal. Yum!

  10. Walnuts in oatmeal are delicious- I agree Sara!

  11. […] no denying that nuts are good food. Researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to […]

  12. […] I have to be honest, every week in our house is National Pancake Week. We make a lot of pancakes over here. My kids love making them and I love mixing in secret ingredients such as flax seed, chia seeds and ground nuts. […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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