- December 14, 2016
- Posted by: emobile
- Category: Researcher's Corner
Emobileclinic Researchers Corner
The BMC Medicine Journal has published the findings of researchers who submit recently that nuts are not only rich in fiber, low saturated fats and high levels of antioxidants but also are one of the healthiest and most nutritious snacks.
Nuts contain high nutritional value and unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and various antioxidants, nuts have earned their spot as super food. Previous studies have shown that nut consumption help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer, however, the new research suggests their health benefits may extend well beyond these major diseases.
In the new study, researchers from Imperial College London, United Kingdom and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway conducted a review of a range of existing studies and tracked down associations between nuts intake and risk of various illnesses. The study consisted of a meta-analysis of 29 existing studies from around the world, including Europe, Asia and Australia. The analysis included 819,448 participants and included over 12,300 cases of coronary heart disease, more than 9,200 cases of stroke, more than 18,600 cases of CVD, and around 18,400 cases of cancer.
The study sought to find the link between nut consumption and mortality from a variety of causes, such as respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease and kidney disease.
The research included all kinds of tree nuts – including hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, and pine nuts, as well as peanuts, which are actually legumes.
The team discovered that consuming a handful of nuts daily was associated with an overall 22 percent decrease in the risk of all-cause mortality. The analysis revealed that as little as 20 grams a day – the equivalent of a handful – can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 30 percent, the risk of CVD by 21 percent, and the risk of all cancers by 15 percent. The risk of respiratory disease was shown to decrease by more than half, at 52 percent. It also decreased the risk of diabetes by almost 40 percent and the risk of infectious diseases by 75 percent. Both peanuts and tree nuts seemed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, CVD, and mortality, but only peanuts reduced the risk of stroke. Additionally, only tree nuts were linked to a decreased risk of cancer. Most of the reduction in risk was associated with an intake of approximately 15-20 grams per day, and no further reduction was noticed if the intake was increased.
The researchers suggest a minimum of 20 grams is needed to fully benefit from the nutritional properties of nuts and avoid preventable mortality: “Under the assumption that the observed associations are causal we estimated that approximately 4.4 million premature deaths in the regions covered, including North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Western Pacific, may be attributable to a nut intake below 20 grams per day.”
However, the team warns that such an estimate depends on the assumption that there is a causal relationship between nut consumption and health outcomes. This analysis cannot provide such causality.
According to Dagfinn Aune say that, “we found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases,” and that “which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”
He also explains how the nutritional value of nuts may be responsible for the positive health outcomes. “Nuts and peanuts are high in fiber, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats – nutrients that are beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels”.
Dagfinn Aune et.al (2016): Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Medicine.doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0730-3