In a large new study, observational researchers at Harvard University looked at how eating nuts may help reduce the risk of mortality, finding that those who ate nuts daily, such as pistachios, saw health benefits nearly double.
The study's findings are consistent with previous research, is the largest of its kind to date, and appears in the November 21 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. The results are based on about three decades of follow-up among 76,464 women in the Nurses' Health Study (1980 to 2010) and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 to 2010), including examination of food questionnaire data.
More nuts, more benefit
Compared to people who didn't eat nuts, people who ate nuts saw benefits that increased along with the number of servings of nuts they ate. That is, people who ate nuts once a week saw a smaller, but still significant benefit, while those who ate nuts seven or more times per week had a nearly doubled benefit.
The benefits were seen in both men and women, independent of other predictors for mortality. The study authors conclude that "the findings from our study and others suggest a potential benefit of nut consumption for promoting health and longevity."
These new findings build on existing knowledge about the role of nuts in heart health. Even a decade ago in 2003, there was enough science for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a qualified health claim related to nuts that states "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease [See nutrition information for fat content]."
This observational study is an important addition to the body of research on nuts and heart health; however, given its observational nature, it's not possible to conclude cause and effect between nut consumption and mortality.
Pistachios 365: A tasty way to get your daily dose
Pistachios make a great, everyday healthy snacking choice for people striving for seven servings a week. Pistachios are a deliciously simple way to snack healthy. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals approximately 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut, and a reduced serving of about 30 pistachios is just about 100 calories.
A naturally cholesterol-free food, 90 percent of the fat in pistachios is the healthy unsaturated type. It's easy to spot the good nutrition provided by pistachios, the colorful nut, which owe their green, yellow, and purple-red colors to the antioxidants and polyphenols found in the kernels and skins. Pistachios are a great-tasting, convenient, and healthy snack with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.