Handful of nuts a day cuts risk of cancer, heart disease
A handful of nuts a day can help keep the doctor - and undertaker - away, new research has shown.
People consuming at least 20g of nuts daily were less likely to develop potentially fatal conditions such as heart disease and cancer, the study found.
Being nuts about nuts reduced the risk of heart disease by nearly 30pc, cancer by 15pc, and premature death by 22pc.
The same amount of nuts - equivalent to a handful - was also associated with a halving of the risk of dying from a respiratory disease. Diabetes risk was cut by nearly 40pc.
"In nutritional studies, so far much of the research has been on the big killers such as heart diseases, stroke and cancer, but now we're starting to see data for other diseases," study co-author Dagfinn Aune, from Imperial College London, said.
"We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It's quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food."
The team, whose findings appear in the journal 'BMC Medicine', analysed published data on more than 800,000 participants from around the world.
The study covered all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazelnuts and walnuts, as well as peanuts, which are technically legumes.
"Nuts and peanuts are high in fibre, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats - nutrients beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels," Mr Aune said.
"Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts, are also high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk.
"Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fibre and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time."