Nuts can Lengthen your Life


Benefits of Eating Nuts

Would you like to live longer? Stupid question, right? Then eat more nuts! And you don’t need to consume large amounts of the expensive variety, such as Macadamia nuts and pistachios. The lowly peanut has the same effect. That’s the general conclusion reached by a study published in the March 2nd edition of JAMA Internal Medicine which was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

This study examined the diets of over 200,000 people in both China and the U.S. for a minimum of five and a maximum of twelve years. The study concluded that eating nuts, including peanuts (technically a legume, but let’s not quibble) and even peanut butter, lowered the risk of premature death from heart disease and other diseases.

Why the focus on peanuts? Primarily due to the fact that they are affordable and, therefore, more accessible to more people. Study researcher, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, of Vanderbilt University, stated, “…our study finding suggests that increasing peanut consumption may provide a potentially cost-efficient approach to improving cardiovascular health.”

Next question: What is it about nuts in general, and peanuts specifically, that improves our cardiovascular health? Why what’s in them, of course! Peanuts, for example, are chock full of heart healthy unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, niacin, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and other phytochemicals. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but trust Dr. Shu and the other researchers, this stuff is good for your heart.

Final question: Do I have to eat more nuts than a squirrel? No, the study found that simply eating 18 grams, or two tablespoons, of peanuts a day was enough to derive their full benefits. However, the study emphasized not to get the above amount from candy bars or food fried in peanut oil, as this would negate the beneficial effects. The study also stated that, if possible, the consumption of a variety of nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and cashews, along with peanuts, increased the health benefits.

The overall conclusion of the study was stated best, once again, by Dr. Shu who said, “…the totality of evidence from nutrition and health research suggests that nut and peanut consumption can be considered a healthy lifestyle choice.” And who doesn’t want to make healthy lifestyle choices, especially when they’re recommended by a doctor? Another stupid question, right? has an entire menu dedicated to heart-healthy items that are low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fats. Simply combine them with the daily recommended two tablespoons of peanuts, or a good, old-fashioned PB&J sandwich, and you’ll feel your heart smile.