A new study suggests that going nuts is good for your health. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, the study shows that regular nut consumption is associated with a lower risk of death from many leading causes of death, including heart disease and cancer. (If you aren’t motivated to read a journal article, this video will give you the key points from the study.)
The reduction of risk was greater with more frequent nut consumption. For example, the risk of death from all causes was 11% lower among men and women who consumed nuts once per week and 20% lower among those who consumed nuts seven or more times per week.
This is level of nut consumption could be met by a common recommendation to consume 1–1.5 ounces of nuts as a snack every day.
One thing to keep in mind is that the health benefits of nut consumption might be due to other positive lifestyle factors that go along with greater nut consumption. Indeed, the authors noted that, “As compared with participants who consumed nuts less frequently, those who consumed nuts more frequently were leaner, less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and more likely to use multi-vitamin supplements; they also consumed more fruits and vegetables and drank more alcohol.” Although these other factors were controlled for in the study, common sense suggests that the reduction in risk is due to a combination of beneficial health behaviors.
This is an important point. A person who eats in unhealthy diet, is sedentary, and smokes is unlikely to realize the health benefits of increasing nut consumption. Achieving the full benefits of nut consumption also certainly means adopting other healthy behaviors.
This is good news! Eating more nuts is a relatively easy dietary change to make. And as this study shows, it can lead to a reduced risk of death from some common diseases. So…go nuts!