Nuts are one of the healthiest and most nutritious snacks available due to their high fibre content, low saturated fat content, and high levels of antioxidants. Nuts are also one of the least expensive and most readily available snacks. As a result of recent studies, it appears that the health advantages of nuts may be far more widespread than previously thought.
Nuts contain a high concentration of nutritional value. Nuts, which are high in unsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of antioxidants, have earned their place in the “superfood” group of foods.
So far, research has shown that nut consumption can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer. However, new research suggests that the health benefits of nuts may extend far beyond these major illnesses.
Researchers from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway conducted an analysis of a variety of existing studies and discovered links between nut consumption and the risk of developing a variety of illnesses.
According to the findings, which have been published in the journal BMC Medicine.
The study was based on a meta-analysis of 29 previously published studies from throughout the world, including Europe, Asia, and Australia, and was conducted by the University of Sydney.
In order to conduct their search, the researchers used the medical research databases PubMed and Embase to look for prospective studies on the relationship between nut consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer cases, all-cause mortality rates, and cause-specific mortality rates published up to the 19th of July, 2016.
Over 819,448 patients took part in the study, which included more than 12,300 cases of coronary heart disease, more than 9,200 cases of stroke, more than 18,600 cases of cardiovascular disease, and approximately 18,400 cases of cancer.
Dietary nut consumption was investigated for its relationship to mortality from several causes, including respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, infectious illness and kidney disease, according to the findings of the study.
A wide variety of tree nuts were examined in the study, including walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, and pine nuts. Peanuts, which are technically a legume, were also included as part of the study.
A handful of nuts every day is sufficient to reduce the risk of developing numerous ailments.
The consumption of a handful of nuts daily was found to be connected with a 22 percent reduction in the risk of death from any cause overall.
According to the findings of the study, as little as 20 grammes of fibre a day – the equivalent of a handful – can cut the risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30%, the risk of CVD by 21%, and the risk of all cancers by 15%.
It has been demonstrated that the risk of respiratory disease decreases by more than half, or 52 percent.
Eating a handful of nuts every day also lowers the risk of diabetes by nearly 40% and the risk of infectious diseases by 75%, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Peanuts and tree nuts both appeared to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and mortality, however only peanuts appeared to lower the risk of stroke. Furthermore, only tree nuts were found to be associated with a lower risk of cancer.
The majority of the risk reduction was related with an intake of roughly 15-20 grammes per day, and there was no further reduction observed when the intake was increased to higher levels.
Researchers believe that a minimum of 20 grammes of nuts is required to reap the full nutritional benefits of nuts while also avoiding unnecessary mortality:
“Based on the assumption that the observed associations are causal, we calculated that approximately 4.4 million premature deaths in the regions studied, which included North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific, may be attributable to a nut intake of less than 20 grammes per day….
But the authors point out that such an estimate is contingent on the assumption that there is a causal relationship between nut consumption and health outcomes. [page needed] This analysis is unable to establish such causality.
Why are nuts beneficial to your health?
In this video, Dagfinn Aune, from Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, explains the relevance of the study’s findings.
We discovered a consistent reduction in risk across a wide range of diseases, according to the researcher. “This provides compelling evidence of a real, underlying relationship between nuts consumption and various health outcomes,” says the researcher. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”
His explanation also includes a discussion of how the high nutritional value of nuts may be responsible for the favourable health effects.
In addition to being high in fibre and magnesium, nuts and peanuts are also high in polyunsaturated fats, substances that are beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease and can lower cholesterol levels, according to Aune.
In addition, previous research have revealed that nuts are high in antioxidants, with a single serving of walnuts supplying more antioxidants than the combined intake of fruits and vegetables.
As Aune points out, “some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts, are also high in antioxidants, which can help to combat oxidative stress and possibly lower the risk of cancer.” Although nuts are high in fat, they are also high in fibre and protein, with some data suggesting that eating nuts may actually lower your risk of becoming obese over time.