Researchers suggest that people who eat nuts, particularly walnuts, are more than three times a week may cut their risk of dying from cancer or heart disease as compared to those who do not. This was highlighted by a longitudinal study conducted by researchers from Spain. The results were posted in BMC Medicine, the open access journal of BioMed Central.
The said study was based on data taken from the PREDIMED nutrition trial. The said trial looked at the effect of a randomized Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts as primary prevention of heart disease of over 7,000 older people ages 55 to 90 years old compared to a control group that follows a low-fat diet. The Mediterranean region is known for their high consumption of nuts compared to other countries. Previous studies have shown that people who ate nuts tend to have a lower BMI and a smaller waist. Nut eaters were also likely to smoke less and were more physically active than people who do not consume nuts.
Based on the data collected from the nutrition trial, the researchers found that nut eaters had a 39 percent lower mortality risk, 45 percent for walnut eaters. There were also fewer people who ate nuts that suffer from type 2 diabetes or take hypertension medicine. People who eat more than three servings of nuts in a week (at 28 grams a serving) reduce their mortality risk due to cardiovascular disease by 55 percent and cancer by 40 percent.
According to Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvado from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili and lead author of the study, “Quite how nuts are able prevent premature mortality is not entirely clear, nor why walnut should be better for you than other nuts. Walnuts have particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals, especially in their ‘skin’ both of which, along with fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect.”
Source: BioMed Central Limited. “People who eat nuts more than three times a week have reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease.” ScienceDaily, 16 Jul. 2013. Web. 17 Jul. 2013.