July 15, 2013

Researchers say they’ve cracked the secret to a longer life

NutsPeople who eat nuts, particularly walnuts, are more likely to live longer, researchers have claimed.

A Spanish study of 7,000 over-55s suggests that those who eat nuts more than three times a week have a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t eat nuts.

Participants placed on a Mediterranean Diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts were compared to a control group following a low fat diet.

Researchers found, in the group who ate the most nuts, there were fewer people with type 2 diabetes or taking medicine for high blood pressure. Overall, nut eaters had a 39 per cent lower mortality risk and walnut eaters 45 per cent lower.

Compared to snacks high in saturated fat, like chocolate or biscuits, a portion of unsalted nuts is a nutritious switch

Victoria Taylor, our Senior Dietitian, said: “Nuts can provide us with ‘good’ unsaturated fat, minerals and other nutrients. Compared to snacks high in saturated fat, like chocolate or biscuits, a portion of unsalted nuts is a nutritious switch that could benefit your heart health.

“However, further research is needed to see why this link was found between nuts and heart health. This study focused on over-55s in Spain and we don’t know if the benefit of walnuts in the Mediterranean would translate over to British shores.

“While a handful of unsalted nuts may be a healthy alternative to other snacks, remember to keep an eye on your portion sizes, especially if you’re watching your weight. All fats, even the healthier ones in nuts, are high in energy so should only be eaten in small amounts.”

The research was published in BMC Medicine.