At your next holiday gathering, that little handful of nuts delivers a lot more than nutrients, it reduces your risk of dying from respiratory disease and diabetes by 50% and 40%, respectively, based upon a meta-analysis of 29 research studies. Further, the analysis found that 1 ounce of nuts per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. This is an amazing impact for such a small amount of food!
Nuts are nutrient-dense, high in protein, fiber, and magnesium, as well as, other desired nutrients for health: monounsaturated fat (pecans, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts), Vitamin E (almonds), and iron (cashews). With their high fat and fiber content, nuts are also very satiating, not to mention delicious!
Authors of the meta-analysis did explore some potential limitations including the fact that those who ate nuts tended to engage in a healthier lifestyle, such as, being non-smokers, slimmer, more physically active, eating less red and processed meat, and consuming more vegetables and fruits than those who had lower nut consumption. Although after adjusting for physical activity, body mass index, alcohol intake, and the dietary factors (red and processed meat, vegetables and fruits), the favorable associations found with nut consumption persisted.
So, the next time you consider reaching for a crunchy chip or cracker, think about eating a small handful of nuts!
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Questions about eating during the holidays? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.