It’s not a joke. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who eat a handful of nuts per day are 20 percent less likely to die early than those who skip the snacks. In addition to lower early death rates, the researchers, whose work was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people who consumed seven or more handful-sized servings per week saw a 25 percent reduction in death from cardiovascular disease, and an 11 percent reduction in death from cancers.
Physicians and fitness gurus have long advocated nuts as a healthy, high-protein alternative to carb-rich snack foods such as potato chips. But, what many people don’t realize, not all nuts are created equal. Each nut has a unique profile — with different fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals — and features different benefits.
Here is a short list of three nuts, and why they’re beneficial.
Walnuts — Heart. While almost all nuts are good for your heart, studies show that walnuts stand above the rest. According to a report in Men’s Health, walnuts have been linked to reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Almonds — Weight Loss. Research shows that almonds are high in fiber and are naturally filling. A Purdue University study found that people who made no sacrifices in their diet other than adding 1.5 ounces of almonds every day were less hungry and avoided weight gain.
Pistachios — Brain. Pistachios and red wine share something in common —resveratrol. The healthy antioxidant has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and improve cognitive function. A 2012 Italian study also found that pistachio oil prevented inflammation in the brain, which may help prevent the damaging effects of some forms of brain injury.