New Research says a handful of nuts have huge health benefits

Walnuts | Image Credit: Nuts.com

Let it be almonds, pecans or pistachios, nuts are much more than just a tasty treat – they have a ton of health benefits too.

A study released in BMC Medicine journal Monday found that nuts reduced the risk of a variety of diseases from heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, reviewed 29 former studies about the health benefits of nuts and found that nuts had a diverse range of positive impacts on the human body.

The study analyzed data on more than 800,000 people and found that those who had at least a handful or 20 grams of any type of nuts were 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease while a handful of nuts reduced the chances of developing cancer in subjects by 15 percent. As for diabetes, a disease which affects more than 29.1 million people in the U.S., according to the American Diabetes Association, risks were cut by nearly 40 percent just from snacking on a few nuts a day. The study also found that consumption of nuts lowered the risks of premature death by 22 percent.

Imperial College London professor Dagfinn Aune, who co-authored the study, said in a statement that all types of tree nuts including peanuts, which are actually legumes, are high in nutrients like fiber, magnesium and polyunsaturated fats that are beneficial for preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing cholesterol levels.

“Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts, are also high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidation stress and possibly reduce cancer risk,” he said. “Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fiber and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time.”

Along with reducing the risks of disease, nuts are also a great source of energy due to all their rich proteins, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that combat feelings of fatigue.