Move over, apples. New research suggests a handful of nuts a day can help keep the doctor away.
In a study published this week in Nutrition Journal, researchers reported individuals whose daily diets include nuts are less likely to be overweight and face reduced risks for heart disease and metabolic syndrome than those who don’t eat nuts.
Consumption of tree nuts — including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts — was associated with lower body mass index, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein “good” cholesterol.
The results of the study, which tracked the diets of nearly 14,400 men and women who participated in long-running federal government surveys, showed nut consumers were 25 percent less likely to be obese and 21 percent less likely to have an elevated waist circumference than those who did not consume tree nuts.
"Approximately 6.8 percent of the study population consumed tree nuts," said lead researcher Carol O'Neil, a professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. "While that may sound small, it actually represents over 12 million individuals — a significant number.
“Those who consumed nuts ate about 1.5 ounces of tree nuts per day — similar to the amount recommended in the [Food and Drug Administration] qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease."
Research has shown that nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes that includes elevated blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin resistance, and abdominal obesity.
The study was funded, in part, by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.
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