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5 reasons to eat more nuts

Brazils, walnuts, almonds, pistachios… nuts are packed with goodness. Here’s how they can help your health

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nuts

Eat more nuts!

Research shows that tree nuts are packed with far more health benefits than their size might indicate. Unless you or someone in your family is allergic, you can count them as a heart-healthy, cholesterol-reducing superfood. All are loaded with calories thanks to their healthy unsaturated fat, so if you’re adding nuts to your day, cut out not-as-nutritious snacks, or add an extra walk. Here’s the latest on their nutty goodness.

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walnuts

Fend off breast cancer

Eating about 28 walnut halves a day provides omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a study at the Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia. Mice were fed a daily diet with the human equivalent of two ounces (60 g) of walnuts. Compared to mice fed a control diet, the walnut eaters had significantly decreased breast tumour incidence and a slower rate of tumour growth.

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mixed nuts

Lower risk of diabetes

Women who reported eating one ounce (30 g) of nuts at least five times per week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 30 percent compared to those who rarely or never ate nuts, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. The women, age 34 to 59, were part of the Nurses’ Health Study-an ongoing study of more than 200,000 nurses in the U.S.-and had no history of diabetes. The mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts are good for insulin sensitivity.

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almonds

Boost your antioxidants

A study at Tufts University in Boston found volunteers with elevated cholesterol levels who ate 73 grams (a large handful) of almonds daily reduced levels of two biomarkers for oxidative stress-the damage that occurs with an excess of free radicals or a decrease in antioxidants. For an antioxidant-rich start to your day, sprinkle chopped almonds on your cereal.

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brazil nuts

Be good to your bladder

Recently, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire compared levels of the trace mineral selenium in 767 people diagnosed with bladder cancer to levels from the general population. They found that certain subsets of participants with higher levels of selen­ium had a reduction in bladder cancer, including females (34 percent) and moderate smokers (39 percent). Just one Brazil nut provides a day’s supply.

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pistachios

Love your heart

Nuts are rich sources of phyto­sterols, plant chemicals that are known to improve heart health. A study that analyzed these compounds in nuts and seeds found that pistachios (along with sunflower seeds) had the highest levels of phytosterols. For a hit of heart health, sprinkle your next curry or stew with these nuts and seeds.

Related:
Our best healthy almond recipes
Our best healthy walnut recipes
10 tasty ways to cook with nuts