Nuts About Your Health?


nuts and mortality

tashka2000/Dollar Photo Club

Orthorexia nervosa.  A condition for those who have an unhealthy obsession with otherwise healthy eating. Not an official diagnosis, but one that has been thrown around.

So where’s the diagnosis for the section of the population that has health concerns like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure but continues to eat fast food and drink soda?  There isn’t one.  These people are considered “normal.”

But god forbid you go to the farmer’s market to get locally grown produce, grass fed beef and organic chicken.  Then you’re sick and have a diagnosible condition.

Go figure.

All of this terminology sets the stage for this particular study.  In it, researchers looked at the well-known benefits of nut consumption on 20, 742 male physicians and how it related to their overall risk of dying.  But before we get into the findings from the study, there are a few very important points about nut consumption that need to be clarified.  Here’s advice that I give to patients:

  1. Never, ever eat nuts that have oils added to them.  Dry roasting and salted is ok (I’m typically not overall concerned with sodium intake).  But never eat nuts that have cottonseed or peanut oil in the ingredient list.  I find that many people eating nuts are eating nuts with added oils.
  2. It really doesn’t matter what type of nut you prefer.  Research is strong on ALL of them (including peanuts, which are technically legumes).
  3. Although nuts are very healthy for you, they still contain calories.  Do not eat them with abandon.  Rather, keep portion size in mid just like you would with any other type of snack.  Personally, I buy pistachios in the shell (my personal favorite can be found on Amazon by clicking here).  That way having to do some work to open the shells slows me down…
  4. For a great mid day snack, mix in a few different nuts with a small morsel or two of dark chocolate drops.  Even more bang for your health buck.

With that being said,  here’s what the researchers found when they looked at the data:

  • Those who had 1-3 servings per month had an 8% lower risk of dying (seriously…per MONTH?).
  • There was a 15% and 14% lower risk of dying for those consuming 1 serving per week or 2-4 servings per week, respectively.
  • For those men consuming 5 or more servings per week there was a 26% lower risk of dying.

Let’s face it.  There are harder ways to lower your risk of dying.  And quite a few easy ways to increase your risk of  having your loved ones bury your in the grave.  If you add some dark chocolate to your daily nut consumption, these protective numbers are going to jump up even higher.  And, if by chance your nut and dark chocolate snack displaced a bag of Hot Cheetos, you’re WAY ahead…


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.