People who eat a handful of nuts a day have decreased risk of a number of health problems including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, reports a recent study.

Nuts Consumption And Decreased Disease Risk

It was found that consumption of 20g of nuts a day reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases by 30 percent, premature death by 22 percent and cancer risk by 15 percent.

Furthermore, taking a handful of nuts also contributes to 40 percent decreased risk of diabetes and 50 percent reduced risk of death from respiratory diseases. However, the researchers noted that there weren't enough studies to establish a concrete link between nut consumption and problems like diabetes and respiratory diseases.

Study On Nut Consumption

The researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Imperial College London examined around 29 studies related to nut consumption previously conducted across the world.

About 819,000 participants were involved in the study, which included 9,000 patients with stroke, 12,000 patients with coronary heart diseases and 18,000 individuals with cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A total of 85,000 fatalities were also recorded in the studies.

In spite of variables like gender, geographical location and people with varied risk factors, it was found that consumption of nuts had a positive impact on most of the health ailments.

Dagfinn Aune, the co-author of the study from Imperial, said that many nutritional studies conducted earlier were focused on life-threatening diseases like cancer, stroke and heart diseases but the current study is aimed at examining other not potentially fatal health issues as well.

It was observed from the study that nut consumption is associated with reduced risk of a number of diseases and it is therefore evident that nuts have positive impact on several health outcomes, said Aune. The researchers studied the benefits of all kinds of tree nuts including walnuts, hazel nuts and peanuts, which in reality belong to the legume family.

Health Benefits Of Nuts 

Nuts are rich in magnesium, fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol levels. In addition, pecan nuts and walnuts are rich in antioxidants that are known to reduce oxidative stress and risks of cancer, noted Aune.

The researcher also noted that though nuts are high in fat, the proteins and fibers present in the nuts are helpful in reducing the risk of obesity to an extent.

"The study also found that if people consumed on average more than 20g of nuts per day, there was little evidence of further improvement in health outcomes," read the press release.

The study is published in the journal BMC Medicine.

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