SuperFoodsRx doctors have been telling us for years that nuts are beneficial for the body and mind, but many people are still hesitant to eat them due to their unwarranted bad reputation. Nuts are good for heart health and they are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which many of us lack. Almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and walnuts may also help prevent constipation. But because nuts are high in calories and contain fat, people still worry about gaining weight, becoming constipated or even risking their heart health in enjoying nuts as a snack. To add to this bad perception, there is the fear of nut allergies, which makes pregnant women worried about eating them and parents wary of feeding them to young children.
A series of studies, including the Nurses’ Health Study, which looked at 76,464 women, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which observed 42,498 men, found that people who included nuts in their regular diet were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease at any given age. A clinical trial conducted in Spain also showed that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts experienced lower rates of disease-related deaths.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine about the benefits of eating nuts for people of diverse socio-economic backgrounds. This study on more than 200,000 men and women in the Southern United States and Shanghai showed lower rates of death again, especially from heart disease and stroke.
We’ve also known for some time that nuts are good for heart health. With the exception of cashews and macadamia nuts, which are high in saturated fat, most nut-eating is encouraged, even by the Food and Drug Administration, which issued this statement: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
So, go nuts for health.
Sources: The New York Times, The New England Journal of Medicine (article 1), The New England Journal of Medicine (article 2) JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Pediatrics, The Journal of Nutrition, PubMed.gov