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Eating nuts reduces the risk of death from a range of diseases

Eating half a handful of nuts a day can lower the risk of dying from several major causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, suggests a study in the Netherlands.

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The research was conducted within the Netherlands Cohort Study, which has been running since 1986 among 120,582 men and women aged 55-69 years. Researchers analysed 8,823 deaths and data on nut intake for 3,202 sub-cohort members.

The results appear to confirm previous studies from Asia and the United States on the benefits of nuts for cardiovascular health. However the Dutch study found that mortality due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases was also lowered.

Study lead Piet van den Brandt, an epidemiologist at Maastricht University Medical Centre, said: ‘It was remarkable that substantially lower mortality was already observed at consumption levels of 15 grams of nuts or peanuts on average per day.’

Peanuts and tree nuts contain compounds that could contribute to the lower death rate such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants.

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