We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but what about a handful of a peanuts a day? A new study by the International Journal of Epidemiology has found that people who eat 10g of nuts or peanuts a day have a lower risk of dying from cancer than those who do not consume them.
Dutch researchers have discovered that peanuts and tree nuts contain various vitamins, antioxidants, fibres, and other compounds like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These qualities are said to contribute to the lower death rates.
The study began in 1986 with more than 120,000 participants aged between 55 and 69 in the Netherlands. Their nut-eating habits were tracked, such as their portion size and frequency of consumption of peanuts, tree nuts and peanut butter. The benefits for the nut-eaters was remarkable. They tended to be more educated, younger, ate more fruits and veggies and were also more likely to take supplements. In fact, females were often leaner, did not smoke and were less likely to have diabetes. Overall, male and female nut-eaters had reduced mortality for respiratory, neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes, as well as, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
However, the health benefits were not found in eating peanut butter. This is likely because the store brand peanut butter spreads are typically loaded with sugar and extra salt rather than being natural and purely the nuts. The additives could then inhibit the protective effects of the peanuts. Another interesting finding was that higher consumption of nuts (more than 10g) did not further reduce mortality risk, suggesting that we just need a small dose of nuts for the health benefits!
Other health benefits of peanuts include:
Are you a nut-eater? What is your favourite type of nut?