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Harvard Medical School

Nuts and Your Health: Cracking Old Myths

Whatever people think of Harvard, few would accuse its heavy-duty scientists of being health nuts. But Harvard researchers may deserve that designation. After all, they have teamed up to show that nuts are actually healthy, especially for men at risk for heart disease.

Harvard Study Results
A 2013 report from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health looked at how eating nuts affects the health of men and women. The study evaluated 42,498 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 76,464 women enrolled in the Nurse's Health Study. None of the participants had known heart disease, cancer or stroke when they enrolled in the studies. Researchers began tracking the subjects in the early 1980s. And they continue to follow many of the volunteers today.
Each subject submitted detailed diet and health information at the start of the study and every 2 to 4 years thereafter. This continued for up to 30 years. According to the results, people who ate nuts fared better than those who did not. And the more nuts eaten, the better the results.
People who ate just one portion of nuts a week enjoyed a 7% lower death rate than people who didn't eat nuts.
Eating nuts 5 or 6 times a week was linked to a spectacular 20% reduction in the death rate.
Nuts appeared to offer protection from a wide range of problems, including heart disease, cancer and lung disease.  And the results held up even after smoking, drinking, body fat, exercise, vitamins and other dietary factors were taken into account.
It's not as nutty as it sounds: Eating nuts promotes good health.
All the subjects in the Harvard study were health care professionals. But do nuts reduce the risk of illness risk in other population groups?
They do.
Scientists have reported that nuts appear to protect people as diverse as Seventh Day Adventists in California, women in Iowa, healthy men and women in the Netherlands, and heart attack survivors in India.

How Nuts Help
Doctors don't know for sure, but they have several theories.
Nuts help reduce blood cholesterol levels, either by replacing other, harmful foods or by lowering cholesterol on their own. 
Nuts are high in fat. But these are "good" fats, which may reduce the risk of abnormal heart pumping rhythms that can sometimes cause sudden cardiac death. According to a Spanish study, nuts improve endothelial function, allowing arteries to widen when tissues need more oxygen.

What's in Nuts?
Nuts pack many nutrients in a small package.
Nuts have no cholesterol. And they contain only tiny amounts of saturated fat. Instead, they have lots of mono- and polyunsaturated fats that resemble the fats in olives and other vegetables that may help protect the heart.
Nuts may also help by providing vitamin E and other antioxidants.
They are also rich in protein, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and other minerals.
Nuts are an excellent source of fiber, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Before you go nuts, keep in mind that:

  1. Nuts are high in fat, which makes them high in calories. All fats, whether they are harmful saturated fats or healthful unsaturated fats, have 9 calories perSo unless you want to gain weight, don't add nuts to your diet without cutting a similar number of calories. Fortunately, the new Harvard study reported that people who ate nuts regularly actually gained less weight than people who didn't eat nuts.
  2. Many processed nuts that are so handy for snacks are fried in oil and/or laced with salt, which can raise your blood pressure.

Nuts can be part of a balanced, healthful diet. And they can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

What's in a Name?
Peanuts, the most popular nuts of all — are not technically nuts.
Nuts are one-seeded fruits that grow on trees. Peanuts grow in the ground. They are legumes, members of the bean and pea family of plants. Peanuts do have a tough outer shell, like trun nuts do. And they share the nutritional characteristics of nuts.
In fact, the Harvard study found that peanuts were as beneficial as true nuts. But the technical distinction does have one important practical consequence: Most people who are allergic to peanuts can safely eat tree nuts.

February 19, 2014
By Harvey B. Simon M.D.- Harvard Medical School

Harvey B. Simon, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Health Sciences Technology Faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the founding editor of the Harvard Men's Health Watch newsletter and author of six consumer health books, including The Harvard Medical School Guide to Men's Health (Simon and Schuster, 2002) and The No Sweat Exercise Plan, Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Live Longer (McGraw-Hill, 2006). Dr. Simon practices at the Massachusetts General Hospital; he received the London Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard and MIT.

The Daily News: re introduce nuts into your diet

Why you should re-introduce nuts into your daily diet

According to recent research, nuts (both tree nuts and peanuts, which are technically legumes) are a nutritional powerhouse.
In the not so distant past, nuts were often passed over as a healthy choice because they are high in fat and calories, but research is showing us that the healthy fats found in nuts are good for our health and nuts are packed with a variety of nutritional benefits.

Why are nuts healthy?

• Nuts contain unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats, which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are thought to help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
• Many nuts contain omega 3 fats. These are fats that are good for your heart and are often found in animal sources, like salmon. Many nuts can be a good plant based source of these fats.
• Nuts are a plant-based protein. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that we choose more plant-based proteins. Nuts are good sources of plant protein, many sources are relatively inexpensive and they are versatile. Try nuts on yogurt, cereal, fruit and vegetable salads, pasta, in smoothies or enjoy a serving as a fast, easy and portable snack. Try a variety of nut butters on sandwiches, toast, crackers or use as a dip for raw fruit and vegetables.
• Nuts are full of fiber. Fiber helps to keep you full longer and also can help to lower your cholesterol levels.
• Nuts are a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to keep your immune system strong and your eyes and skin healthy.
• Many nuts are a good source of plant sterols. Plant sterols are found in many plants and may help to lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols may be added to foods like margarine.
• You’ll find magnesium in nuts. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in keeping your blood pressure stable and plays a role in bone health.

Portion size is the key to adding nuts to a healthy diet without gaining weight. One ounce of nuts is a perfect portion to include in your diet. Here are some common serving sizes and calories for nuts: 30 peanuts — 170 calories, 24 almonds — 160 calories, 20 cashews — 170 calories, 47 shelled pistachios — 170 calories, 14 walnut halves — 180 calories and 20 pecan halves — 190 calories.
Your best bet for portion control is to count out the number of nuts in a serving and store the serving in a snack size zip bag. This will help to keep you from overeating nuts and will make nuts a very easy snack to grab when you are on the run. Nuts are portable, don’t need refrigeration and taste good any time of the day or night.
According to UC Davis, nuts stored at room temperature will stay fresh for a few months. Nuts stored in the refrigerator will last longer, about 1 year and for up to 2 years in the freezer. Nuts that have an off flavor are rancid and should be thrown away.
Enjoy nuts again and as part of a healthy diet.

Original Article from The Daily News by Jen Reardon, registered dietitian working with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart NY! Program

Very Important Study about Nuts Benefits

Eating nuts 'may prolong life'

People who regularly eat nuts appear to live longer, according to the largest study of its kind.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggested the greatest benefit was in those munching on a daily portion.
The US team said nut eaters were likely to also have healthy lifestyles, but the nuts themselves were also contributing to their longer lifespan.
The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed to prove the link
The study followed nearly 120,000 people for 30 years. The more regularly people consumed nuts, the less likely they were to die during the study.
People eating nuts once a week were 11% less likely to have died during the study than those who never ate nuts.
Up to four portions was linked to a 13% reduction in deaths and a daily handful of nuts cut the death rate during the study by 20%.
Lead researcher Dr Charles Fuchs, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, said: "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, but we also saw a significant reduction - 11% - in the risk of dying from cancer."
Eating nuts was linked to a healthier lifestyle - including being less likely to smoke or be overweight and more likely to exercise.
This was accounted for during the study, for example to eliminate the impact of smoking on cancer rates.
The researchers acknowledge that this process could not completely account for all of the differences between those regularly eating nuts and those not.
However, they said it was "unlikely" to change the results.
They suggest nuts are lowering cholesterol, inflammation and insulin resistance.
Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study shows an association between regularly eating a small handful of nuts and a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease.
"While this is an interesting link, we need further research to confirm if it's the nuts that protect heart health, or other aspects of people's lifestyle.
"Nuts contain unsaturated fats, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals and make a good swap for snacks like chocolate bars, cakes and biscuits.
"Choosing plain, unsalted options rather than honeyed, salted, dry-roasted or chocolate-covered will keep your salt and sugar intake down."
The study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education

By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News





Quality Food Awards 2013

Tesco & Besana win the Quality Food Awards 2013 – Christmas Q - Grocery Ambient

Tesco Finest Spiced Fruit and Nut Selection, produced by Besana Group, wins the Quality Food Awards 2013, in the category “Christmas Q - Grocery Ambient”
A Christmas product containing dried fruits and nuts including hand-cracked Chilean walnuts and Italian Giffoni hazelnuts. For a seasonal flavour, raisins and cranberries are spiced with cinnamon, orange and clove oils with orange zest and ginger pieces added.
This seasonal product scored well with the judges who were impressed by the range of flavour experiences it offered to enhance Christmas enjoyment. "A delightful and different addition to the Christmas store cupboard" was one view while another taster admired the "lovely balance of spice flavours which makes it extremely moreish". Another panel member called it a delicious combination of nuts and fruits, while a fellow judge loved the "packaging which gives a great view of the colourful contents"

The Quality Food Awards are the most prestigious awards for food and drink products on sale in UK grocery outlets. What sets these awards apart is the impartiality and robustness of the judging process and the invaluable feedback which entrants receive.
The judging panel is comprised of experts from many different parts of the industry including Chefs, Chef Lecturers, Home Economists, Food Photographers, Food Writers, Food Technologists and Regional Food Groups who all bring their knowledge and experience to the debate. The judges take every aspect of a product into account, rewarding great flavours, high quality ingredients, excellent value and outstanding packaging which increases the retail success of a product.




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