By Alice Park
The daily habit may fend off heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness and diabetes
Nuts, full of good fats and fiber, are health food for the heart. A number of studies show that they can lower risk of heart disease.
But do nuts also help people avoid other diseases, like cancer and diabetes? An international group of researchers, publishing in the journal BMC Medicine, analyzed 29 studies about nuts and health outcomes to find out. In their review, which included data on more than 800,000 people, they found dramatic body-wide benefits for eating nuts.
People who ate about about a handful (20g) of any type of nuts—tree nuts, like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and almonds, and peanuts, which are legumes—a day had nearly 30% lower heart disease rates compared to people who didn’t eat nuts, a conclusion previous data supported. But they also had a 15% lower risk of cancer and a 22% lower risk of dying prematurely of any cause. People who ate nuts regularly also cut their risk of dying from respiratory illnesses by nearly half, and they reduced their risk of diabetes by nearly 40%.