1. ITV Report

Snacking on nuts could prevent early death from cancer and heart disease

Eating half a handful of peanuts or nuts a day could protect against death from cancer and heart disease, research suggests.

A few nuts a day could make a difference to health Credit: PA Wire

A study found men and women who eat at least 10g of nuts or peanuts per day have a lower risk of dying from several major causes of death than people who do not consume them.

However, the same health benefits were not found in eating peanut butter.

The reduction in mortality was strongest for respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes, followed by cancer and cardiovascular diseases in both men and women.

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The research, which was carried out among more than 120,000 Dutch men and women between the ages of 55 and 69, assessed the participants' nut-eating habits and found that regular nut-eaters tended to be younger, more highly educated, to drink more alcohol, eat more fruit and vegetables, more likely to take supplements and to be less hypertensive.

Women who ate nuts were also often leaner, had never smoked and were less likely to report diabetes.

Epidemiologist Professor Piet van den Brandt, who led the study at Maastricht University, said the findings were "remarkable".

"A higher intake was not associated with further reduction in mortality risk," he added.

The study is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.