New research from Harvard has found that a handful of nuts a day may keep the doctor away—and help you live longer.
The study is the largest of its kind on the health benefits of eating nuts and showed that daily nut-eaters had a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. The benefits were seen from peanuts as well as pistachios, almonds, walnuts and other tree nuts.
“We found that people who ate nuts every day lived longer, healthier lives than people who didn’t eat nuts,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The results also suggested that nut eaters stayed slimmer than those who didn’t eat nuts on a daily basis.
"There's a general perception that if you eat more nuts you're going to get fat. Our results show the opposite," said Dr. Ying Bao of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Earlier this year, another Harvard Study found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or tree nuts reduced the risk of heart problems and strokes, particularly in older people who were at a higher risk.
Nuts are a fantastic source of dietary fibre and provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including several B group vitamins, vitamin E, minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium, antioxidant minerals (selenium, manganese and copper), plus other antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids and resveratrol.
Best of all, they’re affordable and easy to store in the cupboard or your handbag for a quick snack.
So which nuts are best?
“Everybody is searching for the perfect nut,” said Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. However, there are health benefits in a variety of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pistachios, so try mixing your favourite unsalted nuts together.
Honey Roasted Nuts
½ cup Manuka Honey
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups unsalted nuts
3 tablespoons super-fine sugar
1. Combine honey, butter and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Pour mixture over nuts. Mix until nuts are coated.
3. Spread on a cooking tray lined with baking paper.
4. Bake at 160°C (320°F) for 10-15 minutes or until nuts are slightly glazed and browned.
5. Cool for 20-30 minutes.
6. Combine sugar and remaining cinnamon in a bowl.
7. Place nuts into the bowl and toss to coat.
8. Store in an airtight jar or container in the cupboard and enjoy!