peanuts were also linked to a reduced death rate and lower risk of chronic disease.
Thus, all nuts are powerhouses of biologically active substances, most of which are known to protect and promote health. Penny M Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State who has studied the effects of nuts on heart disease, describes them as “complex plant foods that are not only rich sources of unsaturated fat but also contain several nonfat constituents”, including protein, fibre, plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, and micronutrients like copper and magnesium.
Every one of these substances has been shown to ward off one disease or another. The fat content of nuts alone could account for their ability to support heart health. Nuts have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than olive oil. On average, 62 per cent of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated, the kind that supports healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and does not raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Most nuts, and especially almonds, are good sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant. The nurses’ study has linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. In both the nurses’ and health professionals’ studies, eating nuts more than five times a week was associated with a 25 per cent to 30 per cent lower risk of needing gallbladder surgery.