There are an abundance of snack foods to choose from, but let’s face it most of them aren’t very healthy. However, there’s one snack food that’s not just healthy, it’s super healthy.
Research into this tasty snack has revealed an astonishing list of health benefits that might sound fictional if not confirmed in a broad range of scientific studies.
I’m talking about nuts. And as far as I can tell, research shows they’re good for just about every part of your body. Of course, some nuts are healthier than others…
One of the most important reasons to snack on nuts and not processed foods is the prevention of cancer. While processed foods can promote cancer, numerous studies show that nuts can lower your risk for cancer, help you survive cancer if you get it and reduce your risk of recurrence.
Nuts are Super Cancer Fighters
For instance, a study at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston of more than 800 stage III colon cancer patients demonstrated that those who consumed at least two ounces of tree nuts weekly enjoyed a 42 percent lower risk of having the cancer recur.
They also were 57 percent less likely to die from cancer than the patients who did not consume tree nuts – which included hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds and walnuts.
Other studies support what the Dana Farber scientists have found. Research at Harvard found that prostate cancer patients who consume nuts were 34 percent less likely to die from cancer during the 26-year study.1
And a review study in Asia that analyzed the results of 33 studies involving more than 50,000 cancer cases revealed that nut consumption reduced the risk of all types of cancer. Most significantly it lowered the risk of cancers involving the digestive tract.2
Better Memory and Heart Health
In reading about the health advantages of eating nuts, it sometimes feels like the list could go on just about forever. Some of the other research highlights include:
- Nuts can support better brain health: A study at Loma Linda University shows that nuts reinforce a variety of brain waves that reflect better brain function. For instance, pistachios were found to enhance the gamma wave response, which is central to improved recall and learning. And research in Australia demonstrated that people over the age of 60 who regularly ate nuts had better memories and learning abilities than those who never ate nuts.3
- Nuts are good for heart health: Research in Sweden that followed the health of about 61,000 people aged 45 to 83 for 17 years, shows that consuming nuts may lower the risk of both heart failure and atrial fibrillation (AFib).4 And a 30-year study at Harvard involving more than 26,000 people found that nut eaters who had diabetes had a lower risk for developing heart disease than folks who never ate nuts during the years of the research.5
Help For Fertility and Sexual Function
Meanwhile, investigations at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain show that eating about 60 grams of nuts a day can improve men’s sex lives.
This 14-week study, which involved 83 men who were eating the typical western diet (very low on fruits and vegetables) showed that without making any other dietary changes, adding 60 grams of raw walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds a day can improve sexual desire and orgasm quality.6
Other research into nuts’ effect on men’s sex lives has found that eating nuts may help with performance. For example, during a three-week study in Turkey, men with performance problems who consumed 100 grams of pistachios a day had improvements in their IIEF (International Index of Erectile Function) scores.7
Nut consumption may also improve the health of sperm: Another study in Spain demonstrates that eating 60 grams of nuts daily improves the quality and function of sperm. The researchers concluded, these results “support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality.”8
A common theme in the science is that the researchers admit they can’t be sure which of the nutrients in the nuts are responsible for all of these beneficial health results. But they note that nuts are rich in antioxidants, contain a variety of phytochemicals that might be helpful, and they also contain vitamins and minerals.
It’s clear that there’s a lot of evidence for the health benefits of nuts. At the root of many of these good things nuts do for health is probably their dampening effect on harmful inflammation in the body.
As we age, chronic inflammation can slowly increase in the body – and researchers believe that this increased inflammation is why age is associated with a greater chance of deadly conditions like heart disease and cancer. But studies demonstrate nuts can restrict the inflammation process.9
And that’s just one more of the many good reasons to add more nuts to your diet.