Scientists from the University of Bergen and elsewhere found eating nuts and seeds may reduce death from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Nuts are a good source of an amino acid called L-arginine, which can help maintain healthy blood vessels and decrease the risk of blood clots.
Some nuts, including walnuts and cashews, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation and abnormal heart rhythms.
Eating nuts and seeds is associated with many health benefits. Summarizing the best evidence on health outcomes from the intake of nuts can provide optimal recommendations.
In the current study, researchers aimed to assess health outcomes associations related to the intake of nuts and seeds.
The team focused on heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, respiratory disease, death risk, and their biomarker for the disease.
They found 89 studies on the consumption of nuts and relevant health outcomes, including 23 studies with meta-analysis on disease and mortality, 66 studies on biomarkers for disease, and 9 articles on allergy/adverse outcomes.
The researchers found the intake of nuts was linked to a reduced risk of heart diseases and related risk factors, with moderate quality of evidence.
An intake of 28 grams of nuts per day compared to not eating nuts was linked to a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (including coronary heart disease incidence and mortality, atrial fibrillation, and stroke mortality), 11% risk reduction of cancer deaths, and 22% reduction in all-cause death.
Nut intake was also associated with death from respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and diabetes. However, associations between nut intake and diabetes risk were mixed.
The team also found allergies and related adverse reactions to nuts among 1-2% of adult populations.
Based on the findings, they suggest that the current evidence supports dietary recommendations to eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day for people without allergies to these foods.
The research was published in Advances in Nutrition and conducted by Rajiv Balakrishna et al.
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