Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Nuts about Nuts

Dear Dr. Walt,

A friend swears a handful of nuts each day is actually healthy. But I thought they were high in fat and calories. Can you settle our argument?

—Nutritionally Oriented in New Hampshire

Dear Nutty,

Research published last fall which suggests “people who regularly eat a variety of nuts including walnuts, peanuts, and tree nuts may be less likely to develop heart disease than individuals who rarely or never eat nuts.”

The researchers reported that “compared to people who never ate nuts, people who ate walnuts one or more times a week had about a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease.”

Individuals “who ate peanuts two or more times per week had about 14 percent lower risk, and those who ate tree nuts – such as almonds, cashews, pistachios or macadamia nuts – had a 15 to 23 percent lower risk.”

Other studies indicate nuts may help people decrease cancer risk, reduce Alzheimer’s risk, and even lose weight. But, nuts also can be almost addictive, and most people don’t stick to the recommended daily serving size which is just one small handful of nuts. More than this can lead to weight gain and increased abdominal difficulties.

Since everyone’s hand is a different size, registered dieticians tell me a daily serving size would be no more than:

  • 24 almonds,
  • 18 cashews,
  • 15 pecan halves,
  • 14 walnut halves, or
  • 8 Brazil nuts.

Dr. Walt

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2018. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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