Go Nuts!

How trail mix will help you live forever (or close, anyway).
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How trail mix will help you live forever (or close, anyway).

If ever there was a reason to stop picking all the candy out of your Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Cups Trax while ignoring the nuts, it’s this: New findings from The New England Journal of Medicine show that people who eat nuts seven or more times a week are 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period.

In a decades-long study of 119,000 women and men, those who consumed pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, and walnuts like rabid squirrels suffered fewer cases of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness. Even folks who ate nuts less than once a week had an 11-percent boost in life expectancy. In multiple studies, frequent nut nommers gain less weight, prevented pancreatic cancer, and lowered cholesterol.

The reasons why are endless, but here are a few choice bits from The New York Times:

How is that possible? First, nuts may be taking the place of other high-calorie snacks, like chips, cookies and candy. And nut eaters may be less likely to snack, period; the fat, fiber and protein in nuts suppresses hunger between meals.

Second, the body may treat calories from nuts differently from those in other high-carbohydrate foods. Third, nut eaters may pursue a healthier lifestyle and burn more calories through exercise.
Whatever the reasons, every study has indicated that nuts make an independent contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account.

In fact, the deeper scientists dig, the more they find nuts act like magical, delicious pills against diseases of all types. Erectile dysfunction? Try pistachios. Arthritis? Anti-inflammatory almonds. Want to live forever? Peanuts are loaded with reservatrol, which may have anti-aging effects.
Good old raisins and peanuts, indeed. Actually, screw the raisins — I’m going to hike with just GOP from now on.

(via The New York Times)