London: Nuts are considered to be super healthy because they are packed with with heart-healthy fats, protein, and disease-fighting vitamins and minerals.
A number of research has linked eating nuts to plenty of health benefits - from increased cognitive function to protection from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as keeping your heart healthy.
Now, a new research has found that eating at least 20 gram of nuts a day - equivalent to a handful -- can reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases including heart disease and cancer.
As per the study, handful of nuts daily can cut people's risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30 per cent, their risk of cancer by 15 per cent, and their risk of premature death by 22 per cent.
The study included all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazel nuts and walnuts, and also peanuts - which are actually legumes.
The results were in general similar whether total nut intake, tree nuts or peanuts were analysed.
According to study co-author Dagfinn Aune from Imperial College London, what makes nuts so potentially beneficial is their nutritional value.
"Nuts and peanuts are high in fibre, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats -- nutrients that are beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels," Aune said.
"Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts are also high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk," Aune explained.
The research team analysed 29 published studies from around the world that involved up to 819,000 participants, including more than 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and more than 85,000 deaths.
"Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fibre and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time," Aune said.
The study also found that if people consumed on average more than 20 gram of nuts per day, there was little evidence of further improvement in health outcomes.
The research has been published in the journal BMC Medicine.
(With IANS inputs)