Tree nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, Brazil nuts and pistachos – are known to boost longevity. They are listed as wonder foods as they lower the risk of heart disease, some form of cancers and diabetes. They offer essential vitamins and minerals including niacin, zinc, folic acid, selenium and magnesium. They have more unsaturated fats that reduce the levels of bad cholesterol.
A systematic review meta-analysis of the totality of the evidence from 12 clinical trials in 450 participants found that eating about two servings a day of tree nuts improved the two key markers of blood sugar: the HbA1c test, which measures blood sugar levels over three months, and the fasting glucose test, where patients are not allowed to eat or drink anything but water for eight hours before their blood glucose levels are tested.
The best results were seen when tree nuts replaced refined carbohydrates rather than saturated fats, said Dr. John Sievenpiper, a physician and researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center of St. Michael's Hospital. The results of his study were published today in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Dr. Sievenpiper said participants in the clinical trials reviewed ate 56 grams of tree nuts a day. One serving of tree nuts is about ¼ cup or 30 …
The latest study, however, can only show an association between eating nuts and living longer. Its design, in which people were regularly surveyed about their nut-eating, does take into account lifestyle (whether they took exercise, drank alcohol, took vitamin supplements) that influence the risk of dying. But it can't prove cause and effect because other factors might also have influenced the results.
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