People who regularly eat tree nuts have a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease, according to a recent study. Sadly, beer nuts, those addictive glazed peanuts, do not grow on trees. Almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts and cashews do.
The study, funded nonprofit International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (surely you didn't think the ground nut lobby would be behind it?), was conducted by researchers from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and was published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The research included 13,292 adults whose diets were analyzed through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2004.
“Tree nut consumers,” who ate at least a quarter of an ounce of nuts a day, had a prevalence of metabolic syndrome (associated with heart disease) that was five percent lower than less nutty people. Researchers found that the tree nut consumers were linked with lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker associated with heart disease and other chronic conditions, and higher levels of “good” cholesterol. Tree nut consumers also had lower body mass indexes, according to the study. People who consumed their daily dose of tree nuts swaddled in chocolate and caramel were probably not among the study sample group.
This is not the first time the scientific shell's been cracked to reveal the health benefits of tree nuts. Eating an ounce of nuts a day was linked with higher levels of serotonin in a Spanish study last year, reports the Huffington Post. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is linked with feeling happy. Apparently, sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you feel like a happy nut.