By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) — Eating nuts has been consistently associated with better health. Nuts are an essential component of the Mediterranean and Asian diets. Studies of Seventh-day Adventists in California have found that nut consumption had a significant inverse association with heart disease. This effect has been found in both men and women including the elderly. These benefits are consistently found in both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In fact, nut consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with all-cause mortality. This means that eating nuts may help us to live healthier and longer.
The PREDIMED study of the Mediterranean diet found that nut consumption reduced risk of stroke by 49 percent and also lowered blood pressure and diabetes risk. New research from the same study found that nuts and olive oil improved cognitive function when compared to a low-fat Mediterranean diet control group.
Researchers surmised that the beneficial effects probably come from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the phenolic compounds found in both nuts and olive oil.
“Nuts are an inexpensive whole natural food that contain fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein and fiber along with both known and unknown bioactive compounds. This makes them a complete food and an even better choice than olive, fish or other refined oil. Most studies have used an around one ounce of nuts per day making it easy to add them to your diet,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged.
With the obesity rate so high and still rising it is worth considering that nuts are fatty foods. In theory, regular consumption might lead to weight gain. However most epidemiologic studies show an inverse association between frequency of nut consumption and BMI. No changes in body weight were observed in these studies. Some population studies actually show lower body weight associated with nut eaters.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 observational studies involving 30,708 patients and concluded that overall, nut intake was associated with a decreased risk of cancer.
Griesel adds, “ A handful of nuts makes a great snack or you can add them to a salad. Eating a variety of nuts is optimal from a nutritional point of view. Raw is most likely the best choice but even roasted nuts have proven beneficial. Nut butters are readily available but are also easier to overeat so whole nuts are your best bet for a health and longevity boost.”