nuts healthy

The Benefit of Nuts



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For many people, nuts are just a snack.

However, eating half a handful of nuts every day could add several years to a person’s lifespan, that according to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Over a ten-year period, researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, found a 23% lower chance of death in people who ate nuts.

“It was remarkable that substantially lower mortality was already observed at consumption levels of 15g of nuts or peanuts on average per day,” said Dr. Piet van den Brandt, the lead researcher.

The Study

In 1986, van den Brandt and his team gathered dietary information provided by more than 120,000 Dutch men and women between the ages of 55 to 69.

Ten years later, they looked their mortality rates and analyzed the data.

The researchers had taken into account other contributing, health factors and made adjustments accordingly. These include the fact that nut consumers also tended to eat more fruit and vegetables. And women who ate nuts were often leaner to begin with.

The results showed that the premature mortality risk due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases was lower among the nut eater than non-consumers over the ten-year period.

Numerically, they found an average 23% lower risk across all diseases, including decreases of

  • 45% for neurodegenerative disease
  • 39% for respiratory disease
  • 30% for diabetes

The Explanation

The reason for this, experts believe, is that nuts contain significant concentrations of beneficial substances for the body:

  • monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • various vitamins
  • fibre
  • antioxidants
  • other bioactive compounds

This doesn’t include peanut butter (which is processed and contains trans fats).

Previous research had indicated a positive connection between nut consumption and improved cardiovascular health. This study was the first to look at specific nuts and diseases.

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1. The notion that nuts are healthy for you is only based on folk wisdom. This is correct or wrong?

2. Do you have to eat a lot or just some nuts to gain health benefits?

3. Was this a laboratory experiment? How was the study conducted?

4. The researchers were aware that this was not a simple, straightforward study. Yes or no? Why did they realize it was complicated.

5. Nut can fight against not just one but most diseases. True or false? Why are they beneficial for people?

6. Was this the first study conducted about the health benefit of nuts?

A. Are nuts popular where you live? What are some examples?

B. Are people health conscious? Are they concerned about what they eat?

C. What are some recommendations that experts give?

D. What may be some consequences of this study?

E. Is everyone happy about this nut study?

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