Studies have found all sorts of wonderful new things about diet and health in recent years. Something I found really interesting was the association between just a handful of nuts per day and the likelihood of making it to 70 years of age with a healthy body and mind.

One study found that of more than 10,000 women studied for over 15 years, those who had reported eating nuts as snacks in their mid-50’s were the most likely candidates to have made it to 70 years old, with:

  • no chronic disease
  • no major physical impairments
  • no major mental impairments
  • high mental wellbeing

Another study of over 100,000 men and women found that people snacking on peanuts or tree nuts in their 30’s and 40’s were also more likely to make it to age 70.

This study also found that daily snacking on a one-ounce portion of nuts led to the lowest risk of a host of diseases, including cancer. Some benefits were shown for people eating nutty snacks weekly or a few times a week, though the effect was greatest at the greatest frequency (daily). Those people who reported eating nuts daily in their 30s and 40s were:

  • Most likely to make it to age 70
  • Least likely to get cancer
  • Least likely to get diabetes
  • Least likely to get heart disease
  • Least likely to die of any illness or injury

These benefits have been found to work best alongside a mostly Mediterranean diet, which happens to promote gut microbiome diversity, which is linked with healthier ageing.

What is a Mediterranean diet?

A Mediterranean diet generally includes:

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Lots of vegetables and fruit
  • Lots of fish
  • Little red meat
  • Low sugar

Which nuts should I eat for better health and a longer life?

The studies discussed included:

  • Peanuts (technically not a nut but works just as well)
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Macadamias
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

A handful of almonds a day has been associated with healthier BMI, and studies have shown that when adding approximately 250 calories of almonds a day as a snack, people eat overall 250 calories less across the rest of their day. Whilst other nuts have not been studied to this effect, it is thought that the protein, fiber and low carb content of the almonds causes this satiety (feeling fuller for longer), and this can be found in the other nuts listed above too.

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