Nuts are good for you. Today, we can state that flatly and without fear of contradiction. But, as recently as twenty years ago, we probably couldn’t have. In the 1980s, consumption of nuts in the United States started to slide. By then there had been so much fear generated by the perceived relationship between fat and heart disease. People were starting to turn away from any food that contained fat. There wasn’t an anti-nut campaign. It’s just that nuts were high in fat. Fat was bad. Therefore nuts were bad – but now nuts are back.
The Nurses Health Study was another very important key to the nut revival in the 1990s. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, researchers followed the histories of eighty-six thousand nurses. They found out that nurses who ate five ounces of nuts per week had one-third fewer heart attacks than those that didn’t. Even those who ate nuts only one to four times a week decreased their risk of heart attacks. Compared to the non-nut-eating population.
Further study of the Boston data also shows that the risk of type 2 diabetes in women shows a substantial reduction by nuts in the diet.
A study of forty thousand postmenopausal women showed that the more nuts they ate, the less the risk of heart attacks. Eatting nuts five times a week, according to that study, will reduce your heart attack rate in half. Even eating nuts once a week led to a 25 percent reduction, and the nuts seem to lower the bad LDL cholesterol without affecting the good HDL.
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Studies On Olive Oil, Almonds, And Dairy Products.
Another comparative study of three diets, one based on olive oil, another on almonds, and the third on dairy products, showed that the almond diet gave the best results. A Loma Linda study of walnuts showed that a diet with 20 percent of daily calories from walnuts reduced heart problems. More good news for the walnut growers – a new study in France showed that “beneficial blood lipid levels were associated with walnut consumption.” Another set of trials in Europe showed that diets with a lot of almonds reduced total cholesterol and the so-called bad cholesterol.
Calorie Content In Nuts
In spite of these studies, many people were still reluctant to eat nuts because of their calorie content. As caloric as they are, nuts won’t necessarily make you gain weight. Nuts satisfy. Satiety is the term for it. Eating just an ounce or so of nuts, and it takes off the edge from your hunger. So you tend to eat less.
Other experts have made the case for nuts’ ability to fight not only heart disease, but cancer as well. Specifically, cited were two studies that showed a decreased risk of prostate cancer among men forty-five to seventy-four. Their numbers improved when they ate a lot of nuts. Researcher Paul Davis at UC Davis warns that much more is to be learned before you use tree nuts as medicine. He is cautiously optimistic in the use of raw nuts to diminish your chances of cancer.
Allergies And Nuts
There is one essential caveat. As many as three million Americans are allergic to peanuts. Many more then tree nuts, which also trigger allergic reactions in thousands of people. Far less people feel dangerous allergic effects from tree nuts then from peanuts. An allergy can manifest itself in a number of ways-wheezing, sneezing, and difficulty in breath ing. There can be hives and intestinal problems. At their worst, allergens can be fatal, triggering what is called anaphylactic shock. Most people who are allergic to nuts already know it and know to keep their distance.
So, unless you have an allergy to them, eat nuts. Reduce heart attacks and enjoy one of nature’s most nutritious, delicious , and complete health foods.