A new study reveals that those who eat nuts at least seven times per week have a 20 per cent lower all round mortality rate compared to those who eat none at all.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study establishes a significant link between the consumption of nuts, such as almonds, and a lower incidence of death as a result of cancer and heart and respiratory diseases.
Research has also found that eating almonds regularly can lower cholesterol, and could be beneficial for those with type-2 diabetes.
Chief Scientific Officer for the Almond Board of California, Dr Karen Lapsley says the investigation "demonstrates that eating nuts daily...confers health benefits and supports long term health".
"Nuts deliver many good attributes in a small, satisfying package," she says.
Nutrients in nuts, such as unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fibre and antioxidants may confer heart-protective, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties, which could account for the lower mortality rate among their consumers, says Ishi Kholsa, Clinical Nutritionist and Director for the Centre for Dietary Counselling.
She also notes that the satiety property of nuts means that they are able to make us feel fuller for longer, curbing hunger pangs that may help reduce the urge to snack on less nutritious foods.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutition last year found that we absorb 20 per cent fewer calories from whole almonds than stated on the nutrition facts panel, possibly due to their rigid cell structure which means not all calories are available for absorption.
Before we all rush to the shops, however, the US Food and Drug Administration has stated that although evidence suggests eating nuts as part of a healthy, low saturated fat diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, the theory remains as yet unproved.