In fact, researchers at Harvard University found that tucking into walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios and pecans led to a 23 per cent lowered risk of developing coronary heart disease and 15 per cent lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
They also discovered no evidence that the tree nuts caused weight gain, despite their high calorie content.
Peanuts, which are technically legumes, had similar benefits, and were found to reduce the risk of the heart conditions by 15 and 13 per cent, respectively.
The team focused on a study group of 210,000 female nurses and male health professionals in the America over a 32-year period. Participants had to fill in a questionnaires every two years, answering questions on their medical history, lifestyle and illnesses.
"Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” lead author Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferre said.
Results were presented in the nutrition section of the Experimental Biology 2017 meetings in San Diego, California, and published in The FASEB Journal.
Dr. Emilio Ros, of the Endocrinology and Nutrition service at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, reviewed the results and acknowledged that while more research should be conducted in the area, raw unprocessed nuts may be considered “natural health capsules”.
Previous studies have also shown nuts can protect against cancer, diabetes, respiratory conditions and dementia.© Cover Media