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They say that “money doesn’t grow on trees” but fortunately for us, some of the healthiest foods do! 😉 A long-term study  published in the New England Journal Of Medicine investigated the mortality rates of over 100,000 adults, spanning a period of 30 years, to see if there is a connection between regular eating of nuts and an increased immunity to fatal illness.
The research found a very strong correlation – with up to 20% risk reduction for those that eat nuts every day!
We’ve done some more research into nut benefits and these findings add a loud voice in favour of a diet rich in nuts!  Here’s our full report on the benefits of nuts.
There is good evidence that the best preventative effects of nuts are related to heart disease and cardiovascular disease but other chronic diseases like cancer were reduced too, diabetes and stroke were affected less.  Incidentally, it is also clear that for those with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, eating more plant-based foods in general can increase life expectancy. 
Our ancient ancestors would have eaten nuts regularly and prized them highly because they are a concentrated source of food that can be stored for a long time. They didn’t know the science – but now we know that nuts provide slow-release energy, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.
Nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals: For example Vitamin E, essential for good physical health – it helps to build red blood cells, as well as being a good antioxidant. Vitamins B1 and B2 are plentiful (a great source for vegetarians) and nuts are high in many minerals too! It is well documented that nuts have a higher magnesium nutrient density than most other foods. Magnesium is essential to living cells and this high magnesium content is thought to be the single most significant health benefit of nuts.
Other foods high in magnesium include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, mackerel, beans, lentils, chickpeas, spinach, chard and kale.
Nuts contain fats but these are more unsaturated than saturated, regarded as “good fats” which may help to lower cholesterol. 
The majority of nuts are best eaten raw, like many other foods, to preserve their nutritional value. One exception is chestnuts, which contain high levels of tannic acid and therefore should be roasted or boiled before eating – they still retain a high level of vitamin C! 
Unfortunately there are some people who suffer from nut allergies and for whom nuts are potentially life-threatening! A restricted diet could mean missing out on important nutrition so it is helpful to consume a wide variety of other foods.  Here is some good news! – did you know that around 10% of children with a tree nut allergy are likely to grow out of it? 
There is a lot of talk lately about the benefits of foods with high levels of beneficial phytochemicals, especially in the battle against cancer and other chronic illness, but don’t forget that these are optimally obtained by eating real, natural food as opposed to supplements. Nuts can provide some of these and fresh fruit and vegetables contribute the most. 
There is some conflicting evidence on the effects of some vitamins in cancer treatment and it is known that supplements can sometime have adverse results. A varied natural diet is likely to be more beneficial than an artificial one – after all, our bodies have evolved to eat foods that grow naturally and since they taste so good, who are we to argue!
Note: Obviously, if you are allergic to nuts then please continue to avoid them! Otherwise, get chomping! 🙂
 “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality”, NEJM, Nov. 2013 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1307352
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