By now we all know that what we eat has an impact on our overall health, and everything from a serving of popcorn to a helping of fruit and vegetables can boost general bodily functions. But some foods actually do a little more. According to recent research published in the journal Nutrients, walnuts have more than just the usual health benefits — eating this snack could also help lengthen your lifespan.
“What we’ve learned from this study is that even a few handfuls of walnuts per week may help promote longevity, especially among those whose diet quality isn’t great to begin with. It’s a practical tip that can be feasible for a number of people who are looking to improve their health, which is top of mind for many people,” Yanping Li, the lead investigator from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said in a media release.
The researchers gathered data over the course of 20 years from 67,014 women who were an average of 64 years in age, originally found in the Nurses’ Health Study. The team then studied 26,326 men from information in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. After looking into this data and the other from a survey on the groups’ walnut consumption, the scientists found that those who ate above five servings of walnuts each week had a 14 per cent decrease in death from health-related causes. Plus, there was a 25 per cent less chance of death specifically from cardiovascular disease and about one year-and-a-half boost in life expectancy when people eat walnuts than when they do not.
Even if consumers would like to improve other areas of their eating habits, the study authors noted that if people eat half a serving of walnuts each day, the risk of death still lowers by 12 per cent and heart disease is decreased by 26 percent. Overall, most study participants who ate walnuts also had a generally healthy diet, exercised, consumed multivitamins, and periodically drank alcohol. While the team uncovered these findings, more research will help definitively tie walnut consumption and extended life expectancy.
This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com
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