Well here we are, slowly and finally debunking the ‘fats are evil’ nonsense that created a long surge of non-fat processed food mania, both unhealthful for consumers and profitable for the processed food industry. Now as this nonsensical no-fat era is gasping on life support, proof that tree nuts are quite healthy and promote longevity as well as disease resistance has come forth without much fanfare. After all, it’s not a patentable drug here; it’s food!
Of course, we’re not talking nuts roasted in unhealthful processed oils and salts. Time to try wholesome raw nuts, even better if possible, nuts in their shells.
Nuts Will Help You Live Longer, Research Says
There has been a humongous epidemiological study recently published in the 2013 New England Journal of Medicine. The study, called “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality”, proves eating nuts reduces overall mortality by 20 percent, and regular nut consumers tend to be more slender.
“In two large, independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independently of other predictors of death,” the study concludes.
This study was conducted by a network headed by the Dan-Farber Cancer Institute with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health, all located in the Boston area. The study followed up on over 120,000 health professionals, excluding those with heart disease and cancer histories, and their eating habits and medical records for 30 years. This is considered one of the largest dietary prospective studies to date.
This study’s published paper states as background:
“Increased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the association between nut consumption and mortality remains unclear.”
Tree nuts include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios, and pine nuts. Peanuts are technically legumes, but they too are associated with reduced mortality and chronic disease.
In addition to overall longevity, the researchers isolated how nuts affected various disease mortality rates. Heart disease is the number one disease-killer in America with cancer a close runner-up. Regular nut consumers who often ate a handful or more of nuts were found to have a 29 percent lower mortality rate from heart disease.
Less nuts consumed by study participants showed increased heart fatalities. So where are the ‘fat consumption leads to heart disease’ advocates on this?
Finding Quality Nuts
When it comes to edibles, finding unprocessed, non-irradiated tree nuts is not as easy as the old days when many living area coffee tables contained a bowl of assorted nuts in their shells with a nut cracker or two inside.
Today, most commercially-shelled nuts are “pasteurized” by irradiation, and even organic shelled cashew nuts are pasteurized with a steaming process. Few are sold as raw. The further from any food’s natural state, the less quality nutrients it harnesses – at least that’s one school of thought. What gets damaged primarily and easily from these processes are the enzymes contained within that help fully assimilate the minerals, vitamins, and other phytonutrients.
So where to go for delicious and nutritious nuts that are not “pasteurized”? Well, it may be as simple as searching in a natural health food store. The real issue was knowing what to look for; now that you know, you can find the right nuts.
And if you pine for those times of yesteryear where you were tempted to carry a nutcracker with you to crack open shells of assorted nuts, here’s a Google page that has many sources for assorted nuts in their shells.