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Daily nuts could boost health

9th December 2008

A Spanish study has found a Mediterranean diet of vegetables, fruit and fish plus daily nuts boosted health.

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Up to 25% of people in the UK are thought to have 'metabolic syndrome' and the research found more than one in eight at risk volunteers benefited from the diet.

The research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal.

More than 1,200 volunteers with metabolic syndrome were tested by researchers from the University of Rovira i Virgili in Spain to see if nuts could boost existing healthy diets.

The group was split into thirds:

  • The first group were given advice on low fat eating.
  • The second group received quarterly training on the Mediteranean diet.
  • The third group got the same teaching but were given a 30g bag of nuts to eat every day.

The volunteers were re-assessed after a year to see if their health had improved.

Of the group who were given low fat advice, approximately 2% had improved to the extent that they were no longer classed as having metabolic syndrome.

The figure rose to 6.7% among those following the Mediterranean diet.

Of those eating the daily nuts the figure rose to 13.7%.

Dr Jordi Salas-Salvado, the lead author, said: "The results of the study show that a non-energy restricted traditional Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, which is high in fat, high in unsaturated fat and palatable, is a useful tool in managing metabolic syndrome."

However, a spokesman for the British Dietetic Association warned that the findings did not give people licence to eat large quantities of nuts in the hope this would improve their health.

 

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