One simple diet change—eating more nuts—could give you a better shot at a longer, healthier life. So say an international assortment of scientists whose work was published in BMC Medicine. In a meta-analysis of 29 studies, they concluded that by eating about 1 ounce of nuts a day (28 grams, or roughly a handful), you can slash your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer, as well as your likelihood of death from respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, infections and, well, any cause at all.
High in: vitamins B6, B1 (thiamin) and K, as well as fiber, copper and potassium
The science: A 2010 study at the University of Pennsylvania found that pistachios can raise blood antioxidant levels, tempering the effects of high cholesterol. The same researchers previously found that pistachios can lower lipid and lipoprotein levels, which in turn may reduce the risk of heart disease.
High in: omega-3 fatty acids, copper and manganese (nearly half of your daily needs)
The science: Walnuts have extremely high antioxidant levels, which makes them a potent fighter against heart disease. They also contain tryptophan and melatonin, which can improve sleep.
High in: fiber, vitamin E and the B vitamin riboflavin
The science: An ounce of almonds serves up 37 percent of your daily vitamin E; research has associated higher vitamin E intake with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Some studies indicate that almond consumption can improve diabetes markers.
High in: vitamin K, phosphorus, copper and iron
The science: A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry suggested that cashews might boost mood and alleviate depression, probably thanks to a combination of tryptophan, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega-3s.
High in: manganese, B1 (thiamin), copper and omega-3s
The science: A study at Texas A&M University found that a pecan-rich diet raised participants’ levels of dietary fiber, thiamin, manganese, magnesium and copper. They have also been found to reduce certain heart-disease markers.