To your health: The benefits of a handful of nuts

To your health

The benefits of a handful of nuts

Back when "fat-free" was the smart choice, nuts didn't get much respect: Although tasty, they're high in fat and calories. But these days, nuts are winning kudos as a health food. Considerable research attests to several benefits — most notably, a reduced risk of heart attack. One of the first studies to show this effect tracked diet and heart disease for six years in 31,208 Seventh-Day Adventists. Results showed that women and men who ate nuts at least four times a week had 51% fewer heart attacks than those who ate nuts less often — a benefit that couldn't be explained by other factors, including good overall health habits.

Likewise, a Nurses' Health Study (NHS) investigation followed 86,016 women for 14 years and found that those who ate at least five ounces of nuts per week were 35% less likely to a suffer heart attack than those who ate less than one ounce per month. A separate NHS study found that women who regularly ate nuts were less likely to undergo gallbladder surgery than those who ate few or no nuts. Nut consumption also appears to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes in women and may help curb the appetite.

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