I've found an interesting article comparing the consumption of nuts to overall mortality rates to see if there's a correlation at all. I know I speak relatively frequently that nuts are a good part of your diet and are great to snack on. Replacing your normal snack of crisps, chocolate or whatever else takes you fancy with nuts is generally a good idea. Well now there's another study to show that advice is pretty much spot on.
The study followed the diet and mortality of two large groups, one of men and one of women, over a 30 year period. They recorded nut consumption every 2-4 years to see how things progressed. Once the study had enough data they were able to compare the amount of nuts being consumed with death rates.
What did they find?
They found that as the consumption of nuts increased the death rates dropped. This was a pretty resounding result across both of the large groups and reduced most causes of death. (Except if you have a nut allergy...)
Like most things in nutrition and health it's not 100% known. Most theories point to the high vitamin and miner content, along with the levels of omega oils available in nuts that most people have a lack of in the UK and USA. All of these things are vital to your body and without them your body can't repair itself properly or function how it wants to. Over a longer period of time, say 30 years, the effects add up and take their toll on your body.
A word to the wise though, nuts do contain certain amounts of anti nutrients such as phytic acid that can, when consumed in high enough quantities, start to leech some minerals away from your body. There have been reports of people getting quite ill from over consumption of nuts causing certain mineral deficiencies.
So what's best?
Basically do what my advice is to you on most things - eat them but eat them in moderation. Eat nuts as part of a balanced diet and you will be doing your body good. A handful a day won't do any harm and will help fuel your body well.
Give them a go and see how you get on!
Here's the study: