Nuts Can Reduce the Risk of Cancer

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Nuts can reduce the risk of cancer.  The largest longitudinal study ever done on whether eating affects mortality was recently performed by Harvard University. Researchers at Harvard followed 119,000 women and men who ate nuts generally every day over a 30-year period and found that they were 20 percent less likely to die during the time of the study than people who didn’t eat nuts.

In addition, the levels of death risks were in direct proportion to the amount of nuts eaten.  Participants of the study who ate various tree nuts and other nuts, like walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and peanuts reduced their risk of dying from cancer by 11 percent and dying from heart disease by 29 percent.

Factors on how nuts can reduce the risk of cancer

It’s worth noting that even though the people in this longitudinal, observational study by Harvard University were less likely to die from cancer and heart disease, it’s complex to single out just one food or food group with respect to cause and effect of these diseases.  Although there may be a connection with eating nuts and the reduction of cancer and heart disease, other extenuating factors could contribute to better health.

For instance, maybe people who ate nuts were less likely to eat salty potato chips.  Perhaps individuals who consumed nuts were more likely to exercise.  Likewise, nut eaters may also eat leafy greens like salads, which could help them stay slimmer and healthier.  They may even be non-smokers.  Nonetheless, participants of this study were more often healthier if they frequently ate nuts.  Among a variety of other factors, they exercised more, were less likely to smoke, and weighed less.  Researchers of this study considered all these dynamics and still observed strong benefits of nuts.

Nuts, weight gain, and optimal health

Moreover, most people are under the perception that those who eat nuts will gain weight; however, according to Dr. Ying Bao, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the results show a surprising contrast, in that people tend to stay slimmer.  It’s difficult to determine which nuts are best for our health.  Health professionals suggest eating mixed nuts can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.  Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration suggests eating at least a fistful of nuts each day to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Even though other factors could have resulted in the research participants in being healthier by consuming nuts, researchers of this observational study are very confident their results reflect a substantial health benefit in that nuts can reduce the risk of cancer.  They performed very sophisticated analysis and separated their investigation on individuals with and without diabetes, smokers versus non-smokers, plus intense and non-intense exercisers.  A consistent benefit of eating nuts was determined.  You may want to consider having nuts to enhance your health today and throughout the years to come.

You can read more of George Zapo’s articles pertaining to public, global, and environmental health at his website: georgezapo.com.

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George Zapo, CPH
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George Zapo, CPH is certified in Public Health Promotion & Education. George focuses on writing informative articles promoting healthy behavior and lifestyles. Read more of George's articles at his website: http://georgezapo.com.

  • Julie

    I eat pistachios several times a week. I always knew nuts were healthy, but this makes me want to eat nuts daily! I don't eat too many nuts, about 1/2 cup pistachios in the shell, and I walk two miles five times a week. Between the two, hopefully I can add a few years to my life!

    • gzapo

      You're doing fantastic, Julie! It's great to hear of your success in obtaining a healthy lifestyle.

      We can learn much from you in the way you take good care of yourself.

      Thank you for sharing your life experiences.

      There's no doubt in my mind your doing what's necessary in adding a few more years of your precious life.