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People who Eat Nuts Every Day Live Longer, Healthier; Study

Nov 21, 2013 08:03 AM EST

Regular nut- eaters are more likely to live longer and healthier, a new study based on over 100,000 men and women found.

The study was conducted by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health. They found that people who ate a handful of nuts everyday were 20 percent less likely to die early than other people. Also, nut-eaters were slimmer than others, proving that nuts don't increase risk of weight-gain.

"The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease - the major killer of people in America," said Charles S. Fuchs, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report, according to a news release. "But we also saw a significant reduction - 11 percent - in the risk of dying from cancer."

What kinds of nuts are helpful in extending life?

The research didn't look at specific types of nuts consumed, but found that both peanuts and tree-nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds had the same effect on a person's health.

Previous research has supported the idea that walnuts can improve health. One such study had shown that people who regularly eat walnuts have a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

The data for the present study came from The Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study. Participants in the study filled-up a questionnaire about their lifestyle and eating habits once every two to four years.

About 118, 962 people participated in the study of which 76,464 were women. The study used data collected between 1980 and 2010.

"In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period," explained Ying Bao, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, first author of the report.

The research found that people who ate nuts once every week had seven percent reduced mortality rate while those who ate nuts once every day had a 20 percent reduction in death rate. The study found a co-relation between nut-consumption and death rate, and not a cause-and-effect relation.

The study is published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine.

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