Eating nuts reduces mortality risk, studies find

Eating nuts reduces mortality risk, studies find
Eating nuts reduces mortality risk, studies find

Cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) cause more than 1.1 million deaths in the United States each year, and the direct and indirect costs of these two diseases amounts to an astonishing $645 billion annually. As scientists frantically search for the next drug or gene therapy to mitigate these figures, a simple solution may be widely available worldwide according to two studies released — the regular consumption of nuts.

Nuts are packed with beneficial nutrients like unsaturated fats, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and plant sterols. They provide a rich energy source, help maintain healthy skin and hair, support cardiovascular health and enhance muscle tone. Ounce for ounce, nuts are one of the healthiest snack foods available when eaten in moderation.

Previous research found that eating nuts may prevent heart disease by lowering “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which helps keep your arteries cleaner. In addition, nuts are a good source of l-arginine — a substance that encourages the health of your arterial walls by making them more elastic and less prone to blockage.

According to materials released by BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine July 16, 2013 and based on the randomized PrediMed nutrition trial based in Spain, eating nuts three times per week can lower overall mortality risk 39 percent. Remarkably, walnut eaters enjoyed an even better reduction in overall mortality at 45 percent, when compared to non-nut eaters.

The PrediMed trial included over 7,000 participants who were at greater risk for heart attack and stroke, but without any previous history of cardiovascular problems. Participants were randomized to one of three different groups: a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with nuts or a control group consisting of a low fat diet.

The authors of the studies concluded that 3 servings — 28 grams — of nuts weekly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease death by 55 percent and cancer by 40 percent. These data suggest that eating nuts regularly could possibly save hundreds of thousands of lives from cancer and CVD every year. Moreover, millions of dollars could be saved in an overwhelmed healthcare system.

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