A study involving nearly 119,000 people over 30 years revealed that those who ate a small serving of nuts seven times a week were less likely to die for any reason than those who never ate nuts.
The study, which was published in the Nov. 21 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, said that 27,429 of the subjects died over the 30 years. Those who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts — roughly, a small handful — seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to have died for any reason than those who never ate nuts, according to The Washington Post.
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Even those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in risk.
The study, titled "Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality," revealed that those who eat nuts
up to five times a week had a a 29 percent drop in mortality risk for heart disease, a 24 percent decline for respiratory disease, and an 11 percent drop for cancer.
"As compared with participants who consumed nuts less frequently, those who consumed nuts more frequently were leaner, less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and more likely to use multivitamin supplements," the study stated in its results section. "They also consumed more fruits and vegetables and drank more alcohol."
Researchers told LiveScience.com that the study was one of the largest to examine the link between nut
consumption and overall risk of death. The research was partially paid for by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.
The foundation did not take part in the creation and interpretation of the data, LiveScience.com said the study's scientist told them.
"The findings from our study and others suggest a potential benefit of nut consumption for promoting health and longevity," Dr. Charles Fuchs, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said in a statement.
Nuts have vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, and are a source of protein. The downside to nuts are that they are high in calories and people often eat too many of them.
The American Heart Association recommends eating four 1.5-ounce, or a handful, of unsalted, unoiled nuts per week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration added that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day can reduce the risk of heart disease.
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