Eat this to live longer

By: Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D.  |  Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Imagine if there was a food (or category of foods) that could single-handedly lengthen your life.
Well, such a wonder food may actually exist.
A new study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), showed that people who ate a 1-ounce serving of nuts seven or more times each week had a 20 percent lower death rate than those who didn’t eat any.
It’s important to note this was merely an observational study, and not one where researchers controlled which group of participants ate nuts (and how much) and then studied who lived longer. Yet the positive findings in this study support the abundance of other data demonstrating the health benefits of eating nuts, including lowering risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.
For example, another recent study—this one published in Metabolism—showed men and women who added 1.5 ounces of walnuts (about 21 halves) to their normal daily diet for just 8 weeks significantly improved their cholesterol, triglycerides and other blood lipid levels. The authors think the healthy polyunsaturated fats in the walnuts were responsible for the positive changes.
In addition to good-for-you fats, nuts deliver fiber, protein and other key vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, selenium and phosphorus.
Of course, nuts are high in calories—and so it’s important to mind your portion size. See the chart below for how many nuts of each variety are in a 1-ounce serving—and their calorie count.
Nut Serving Size
(1 ounce)
Calories
Pistachios 49 161
Peanuts 28 162
Almonds 22 170
Cashews 16 157
Pecans 19 halves 196
Walnuts 14 halves 185
Pick whichever nut is your favorite (the NEJM study didn’t focus on any one type of nut) and consider eating them in place of less-healthy snacks—like chips, pretzels or crackers. It might extend your life.