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Nuts for Longer Life

Nut consumption may be a cost-effective way to improve cardiovascular health.

Nuts are a rich source of nutrients and may be a health-protective food. Most early studies were done in white, high socioeconomic populations. Researchers have now found the same is true in lower socioeconomic, multi-ethinic populations in both the U.S. and China. Significantly reduced total mortality and death rates from cardiovascular disease in both males and females who ate the most nuts compared to those who ate the least--including peanuts.

PositiveTip: Include modest amounts of nuts and seeds in your diet each day.

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Pistachios Help Stress

Pistachio nuts may improve stress response and blood pressure in diabetics.

Penn State researchers randomized two groups of type-2 diabetics to different diets. All consumed a heart healthy diet, but the experimental group's diet included 2 daily servings of pistachios.  Researchers provided all the meals for 4 weeks. The blood vessels of those eating the pistachios remained more relaxed and open during a cold water challenge and stressful mental test. They also found real world measures of blood pressure were lower.

Positive Tip: Unsalted pistachios in moderation may be a good addition to a healthy diet.

 

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To Eat or Not to Eat?

Offspring of mothers who ate nuts during pregnancy had fewer nut allergies.

Pregnant mothers who consumed peanuts, peanut butter, and tree nuts gave birth to children who had fewer allergies. Offspring of mothers who ate 5 or more servings of nuts per month experienced 66% fewer nut allergies versus those whose mothers ate nuts less than once per month. It appears that early allergen exposure increases tolerance and lowers risk of childhood food allergy.

PositiveTip: Mothers-to-be should feel free to consume nuts.

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Nuts and Pancreatic Cancer

Eating two oz. of nuts per week reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of only 6%. A 30 year follow-up of more than 75,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study found women who ate 2 or more servings (2 oz. or 56 g) of nuts per week experienced a 35% lower risk of pancreatic cancer, compared to those who ate few nuts. This finding was independent of risk factors such as diabetes, BMI and smoking.

PositiveTip; Enjoy the benefits of moderate nut consumption--it might reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer.

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Consuming Nuts Can Lower Risk of Death

Nut consumption may actually lower mortality rates.

Analysis of 75,000 women in the Nurses Health Study and more than 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study revealed those who ate nuts once a week had a lower mortality rate than those who do not eat nuts. When nut consumption increased even more, mortality rate fell for both cancer and heart disease. Tree nuts and peanuts demonstrated similar results.

PositiveTip: Nuts should be a part of a balanced, healthful diet.

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Olive Oil or Nuts May Protect Brain

Olive oil or nuts added to a Mediterranean diet may support cognition.

A randomized, blinded trial in Spain has found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or mixed nuts may improve cognition compared with a low-fat diet. This study followed 522 adults at risk for vascular events for 6.5 years. Olive oil and nuts contain antioxidant properties that may protect against neurodegeneration caused by oxidative stress.

PositiveTip: A Mediterranean dietary pattern has many proven health advantages. Adding moderate amounts of olive oil or nuts might improve it further.

Diet that Lowers Cholesterol as Good as Medication

Diet is an important part of healthful living. There are foods that hurt your health and foods that improve your health. What you choose to eat is just as important as what you chose NOT to eat. This is particularly true for foods that help control your cholesterol levels. 

Saturated fats in the diet are harmful to your health as they raise bad cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Saturated fats are found in red meat, butter and other dairy products such as cheese, sour cream, whole milk, 2% milk, yogurt, and ice cream.

A study on the effects of diet on cholesterol was study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In this study, a group of 350 Canadians were randomly divided into three groups and prescribed special diets.

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Plant-based Foods Reduce The Risk Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity risk can be reduce by up to 41% by eating more whole grains, vegetables and nuts.

A study of children and adolescents found a greater intake of whole grains, vegetables and nuts reduced the risk of excess weight by 41%, 40% and 33%, respectively.  Higher fat dairy products increased the risk of overweight and obesity by 36%. Nuts do have higher calories from fat but increases satiety and may decrease food intake in future meals.

PositiveTip:  Plant foods when consumed with minimal processing have higher nutrient levels and lower calorie-density thus limiting the risk of weight gain for adolescents--and probably adults, too!

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Potato Chips and Sugary Beverages are Culprits in Weight Gain

Eating one more serving of fruit, vegetables and nuts contributes to 1.25 pounds lost every 4 years.

What foods are most strongly associated with weight gain? Is it really any surprise that in a 20 year study of more 120,000 participants, potato chips and sugar-sweetened beverages contributed 1.28 pounds and 1.00 pound of weight gain every four years? Yogurt, nuts, fruits, whole grains and vegetables were associated with significant weight loss over the same period of time. All of these items are per serving added per day to the diet.

PositiveTip: Which direction is your scale going? Remember, consistently skipping the tempting bag of potato chips and or a cold sugar-sweetened beverage can tip the scale downward.

Are Expensive Nutritional Supplements Really Needed?

A few weeks ago I received a very enthusiastic phone call from a person who expressed great enthusiasm for PositiveChoices.com. Of course, it is always nice to hear this kind of excitement! However, it wasn't long before he revealed the true purpose of his call. He wanted us to place a link to his website where he sold the "best nutritional supplements in the world." His site promised health and great wealth to all who would promote these "natural God-given nutrients in a liquid."

Fruits and vegetables.