Want a real easy way to cut your risk of dying from heart disease and other causes by almost a cool 20%? A recent study says you can do just that, simply by eating nuts.
The researchers in this study found that consuming nut/peanut butter just once per week cut the hazard ratio from 1.00 to 0.89. In those consuming it one to four times per week, the hazard ratio fell even further to 0.81. (Hazard ratio of death is the risk of death.)
What's more, the nuts and nut butters also provided significant reductions in heart disease deaths as well.
This shouldn't be surprising. Walnuts, pecans, and chestnuts are among the plants richest in antioxidants. Walnuts rank first. Other nuts are valuable as well.
But that's not all. Another report (from Taiwan) suggests eating peanuts can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in women by 58%. In men, the reduction is even more astounding — 276%. (By the way, the same report said that women will double their risk of colon cancer by frequently eating pickled foodstuffs. Just look at the chemicals added in the pickling process, and you'll agree that pickled foods will help to pickle you!)
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If you don't go for nuts, consider chickpeas (garbanzos). Researchers have found that they significantly lower serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (3.9 and 4.6%, respectively compared to controls supplemented with wheat).
This is in the face of lower protein and monounsaturated fat and significantly higher carb intake on the chickpea-supplemented diet, compared to the wheat-supplemented diet. There must be some magic to chick peas, since ordinarily you would expect a significant rise in carb intake to adversely affect these numbers.
Action to take: Again and again, the most effective way to reduce your risk involves the least cost — food! Think of adding fresh raw nuts to your diet. In the case of chestnuts, I have no problem with roasting them as the song croons. If you want it in the form of nut butter, be sure it is freshly ground and organic.
"Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants," Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH, et al, Br J Nutr, 2006; 96 Suppl 2: S52-60.