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Walnuts and Type 2 Diabetes
When people ask me what they should snack on in place of Doritos or Wheat Thins or other savory snacks, I have a one-word answer for them: "Nuts." It's true. For those people who are savory snackers, nuts should be your first choice of snack.
Nut and Seed Choices
We know now that nuts and seeds are really good for you. So much research has now shown that they're a great choice in everything from snacks to being used as part of recipes. One important study shows that nuts added to a Mediterranean Diet made a huge difference in developing metabolic syndrome (Arch Intern Med 2008: 168; 2449 - 2458). Do keep in mind that nuts are considered fats and are higher in calories. Even so, the types of fat are so much better for you since most are low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats.
Nuts and Heart Disease & Diabetes
I've reported in the past about the positive effects of nuts (specifically pistachio nuts) on cholesterol. It seems that almonds may have a positive effect on your risk of cardiovascular disease (CHD) or diabetes.
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If you've been following Dr. Gourmet even a little while, there's a good chance you've heard something about nuts. We've seen nuts help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes - with walnuts specifically or through increasing your magnesium intake, improve your cholesterol scores with pistachios (or other nuts), and cut your risk of metabolic syndrome. More broadly, they've been associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
What about overall health - at least, in terms of living longer? Scientists from multiple institutions in Massachusetts, from Harvard to the VA in Boston, used data collected through The Physician's Health Study (Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:407-12), a large-scale, long-term trial of the effects of aspirin and beta-carotene on the risk of cancers or cardiovascular disease in over 20,000 male physicians. The study includes detailed dietary, health, and lifestyle questionnaires gathered on a yearly basis for nearly ten years.
The researchers analyzed the peanut and tree nut intake of the physicians in the study and compared the intake of those who died from any cause with those who did not. As part of their analysis, the scientists took into account such variables as Body Mass Index, physical activity levels, smoking status, fruit and vegetable intake, estimated amounts of saturated fat in the diet, and whether the participants had high blood pressure or diabetes.
They found that those participants who ate 5 or more 1-ounce servings of nuts per week were 26% less likely to die from any cause, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, or stroke. That's huge! Even more interesting is that those who reported eating between 1 and 4 servings per week reduced their risk of death by about 15%. Let me repeat: at least 1 serving of nuts per week reduced their risk of death by about 15%.
Once again, this is an observational study, so this data does not necessarily prove that nuts are the reason people were less likely to die from any cause. That said, the researchers were careful to take into account many variables that are likely to have an effect on one's health and risk of death from various causes. Add this study to the pile of research saying: eat nuts!