Study: Nuts reduce the risk of cancer

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Research into the regular consumption of nuts, no matter what kind, helps to significantly reduce the risk of death.

This seems to come from the results of two long-term studies from the United States. According to this, the consumption of nuts should reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer by about 20 percent. The study examined the effects of daily nut consumption on health over a period of almost 30 years. This was reported by the physician Charles Fuchs from the Dana-Färber Cancer Institute in Boston (Massachusetts) in the "New England Journal of Medicine" (NEJM) and his colleagues. There have been several small studies in the past that have shown the positive effects of nuts on health.

For example, nuts help to lower blood lipid levels, protect against type 2 diabetes and help heal inflammation. The US scientists have gained the new knowledge from two large collective studies, in which 76,500 women and 42,500 men have participated since 1980 and 1986, respectively. The researchers wanted to test the benefits of food based on information on nutrition, lifestyle and health. For this purpose, the participants provided information every two to four years. It was shown that “there was a direct connection between nut consumption and lowering the risk of death,” the researchers conclude.

"The most obvious benefit was a 29 percent reduction in heart disease deaths - the biggest killer in the US," Fuchs said, according to his institute. "But we also saw a significant drop - by 11 percent - in the risk of dying from cancer."

Nuts are not fattening foods. It was also shown that the more nuts the participants ate, the more the risk was minimized. People who consumed nuts less than once a week had a seven percent lower mortality rate than those who did not eat nuts. Those who only consumed nuts once a week increased the protection to around eleven percent. With consumption two to four times a week, the value rose to 13 percent and five to six times to 15 percent. With daily consumption it was even 20 percent. It didn't seem to matter which nuts the participants ate.

The study also contradicted the widespread assumption that nuts make fat per se. According to the researchers, nut consumers were generally slimmer than people who did not consume such foods.

This aspect is certainly to be viewed critically, because the nut industry is also one of the financiers of the study. However, the data did not prove whether the protective effect can actually be attributed to the consumption of nuts.

However, there were tendencies that support this assumption. Because when analyzing the data, the factors of a generally healthy diet and lifestyle were also taken into account. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) also believes that nuts lower cholesterol levels and presumably thereby protect against heart diseases. Smaller studies have already proven this in the past. The unsaturated fatty acids contained in the food are very likely responsible for the lowering of the blood lipid values. (fr)

Image: Marianne J. /

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