An article in today’s Times has stated that a handful of nuts a day could keep the doctor at bay. Described as “natural health capsules” by medical professionals, it has been suggested that a handful of hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios or Brazil nuts five times a week can cut the risk of heart disease by up to a quarter.

Nuts are also thought to be beneficial in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer and have benefits for brain and gut health too.

A lot of people tend to avoid nuts due to their high fat content. And while most people are aware of the difference between good and bad fats, there is often confusion about the foods in which each are found.

However, nuts are firmly in the good camp as they contain vitamins, fibre, high-quality protein and healthy fatty acids that are thought to cut cholesterol and blood sugar. As stated in The Times, Harvard researchers used data on 210,000 doctors and nurses to look at the links between nut-eating and the 14,000 who suffered heart disease.

Those who ate nuts five times a week were 14 percent less likely to suffer heart attacks and 20 percent less likely to have heart disease. It was stated that the greatest benefits come from tree nuts.

Lead author of the study Dr Marta Guasch-Ferre, a nutritionist at Harvard University in Boston, said: “Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations.”

 

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