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The Snack That Could Save Your Life

Why a handful of nuts is the secret to longevity.

The Snack That Could Save Your Life

Want to live longer, reduce your risk of heart disease and probably of cancer too? And want to keep the weight off? The way to do it is simple…go nuts!

A 2013 study by a team of researchers in Boston at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and at the Harvard School of Public Health, led by Dr. Charles Fuchs, found that people who ate nuts every week or every day were significantly less likely to die of cancer, heart disease or respiratory disease than people who didn’t.

I eat nuts every day. I like them with Greek yogurt and fruit, dried or fresh. Sometimes I like them with raisins and dark chocolate chips, like a homemade trail mix. Some people question me, asking me whether I’m worried that nuts are so calorie-laden. Given the research, my response is, “What, are you nuts?!” My choice is cashews, but no matter. If you like other nuts, try those. Legumes such as peanuts seem to do the trick too.

It’s possible this data really has nothing to do with the nuts themselves. Maybe it’s that people who eat nuts eat healthier in general. Maybe filling up on nuts doesn’t leave much room for foods like potato chips and other unhealthy snack food. Maybe it’s that people who eat nuts also choose other healthy behaviors, like more exercise and less smoking. There are lots of reasons why the data can look the way it does. Regardless of all of the potential confounding reasons, the benefits are undeniable. A handful of nuts a day and you’ll have more energy, you’ll up your omega-3 quotient (great brain food, great heart food), and you’ll fill up on something healthy instead of reaching for a less nutritious option. 

So go nuts! Every day.

QUIZ: Are You Eating for Health and Beauty?

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