A recent analysis of current research demonstrated that people who eat at least 20g of nuts a day have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Twenty grams is about a handful. The research team, from the Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analysed 29 published studies from around the world that included around 819,000 participants; more than 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and more than 85,000 deaths(1).

The study found that consuming this little amount of nuts a day was correlated with a 30 percent risk reduction in coronary heart disease, a 15 percent reduction in cancer, and a 22 percent reduction in premature death. Diabetes was shown to be reduced by almost 40 percent, and a 50 percent reduction in deaths by respiratory disease.

Study co-author Dagfinn Aune from the School of Public Health at Imperial commented: “We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”

There seemed to be some variation across populations that were studied, men and women, regional differences, and people with different risk factors, but the benefits associated with nut consumption was consistent across most of them. The study included all kinds of nuts, including peanuts, and found that the results were similar regardless of they type of nuts consumed. Also, there seemed to be little-added benefit from consuming more than 20g of nuts per day.

Nuts are incredibly dense nutritionally. They are high in antioxidants which fight oxidative stress and are also high in many minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Nuts contain a great balance of fiber, protein and polyunsaturated fats, all things that are beneficial for reducing cardiovascular disease and reducing cholesterol levels.

1. Aune D, et al. Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies.BMC Med. 2016 Dec 5;14(1):207. SOURCE: Independent

email-photoNode Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision. 

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