Nuts for Longevity

by Sandy Todd Webster on Jan 15, 2014

Food for Thought

A large observational study has shown that 119,000 men and women who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20% less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t consume nuts, according to scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Their report, published in the November 21, 2013, edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, has more good news. Regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate common fears about nuts being high in fat and tied to weight gain.

The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death, said a Dana-Farber press release.

“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center and senior author of the report. “But we also saw a significant reduction—11%—in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s as well.

Scientists were not able to pinpoint any specific type or types of nuts crucial to the protective effect. The reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts and for “tree nuts” such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios and pine nuts.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. The authors stated that neither organization influenced the design, data collection or interpretation of the study results.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.