Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nuts to You
I’m conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.
George H.W. Bush, the First President Bush
The word “nut” has a bad reputation. "Nut", you  might say, has gone "nutclear".

Other than its value as a food nutrient, “nut” has come to mean a defiant, disgusting, disapproving, despairing , crazy, and insane person. Politically, “nut” usually is associated with an extremist on the right, as in “right wing conservative nut,” not those on left, as in “left wing socialist nut.” 
This is too bad. Strongly held points of view (POVs) are good, a mark of a true believers.   

But POVs distract from the food value of nuts. Nuts are good for you. A November 21, 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study points out in “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” nuts can increase your life expectancy by 20% or more.
Yes, it's true. The authors examined the association between nut consumption and mortality among 76,464 women and 42,498 men in a Health Professionals Follow Up Study (1986-2010).
In the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, the authors concluded, “ In two large independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independently of other causes of death.”
This makes sense. Nuts are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive substances. Anecdotal stories abound with tales that nuts lower your cholesterol and reduce risks of developing coronary disease, type II diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, hypertension, gallstones, diverticulitis, colon cancer, and death from inflammatory disease. People on the nut-rich Mediterraean diet are heathier than the rest of us, especially we meat and transfat eaters, with olive oil fat excluded of course.
There is also anecdotal evidence that ”nuts” on the political extremes help clarify where the health political center lies and what government can do for you and to you.
The next time you hear the word “nut,” grab yourself a bag of peanuts and think about what the word means.

Tweet: According to a November 12 New England Journal of Medicine study, nuts are good for you and extend your life expectancy.

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