Eat a handful of nuts every day and you'll live almost two years longer
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet will slow down the speed at which you age. American researcher Larry Tucker discovered this during an epidemiological study involving 5582 adults. The more nuts you eat each day, the longer the telomeres in your DNA - an indication that your molecular clock is ticking more slowly.
A couple of days ago we wrote about another recent publication of Tucker's. That one was about the effect of drinking coffee on telomere length. In both that study and the one you're reading about now Tucker used data that was gathered for the NHANES project.
This involved 5582 adults, for whom Tucker was able to obtain information on their telomere length and their consumption of nuts and seeds.
The more nuts and seeds that the participants consumed, the longer their telomere length.
The regression coefficient (1) was 8.5. That means that for every 10 g nuts and seeds that the participants ate their telomeres were 8.5 base pairs longer. A handful of nuts weighs about 30 g. So for every handful of nuts that a group of people eat daily, their telomere length will be 25.5 base pairs longer.
Tucker found that the most important predictor of telomere length was - predictably - age. For every year older that the participants were their average telomere length was 15.4 base pairs shorter. That's the telomere length that therefore represents one year of life in your biological clock.
That means that a group of people who eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day will live 1.7 years longer than people who do not do this.
"Consumption of nuts and seeds was linearly and significantly related to telomere length in a random sample of 5,582 men and women representing U.S. adults," Tucker summarises. "Regular consumption of nuts and seeds accounted for meaningful decreases in cellular aging, with greater reductions in biologic senescence with higher intakes."
"Findings of the current study support the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans encouraging consumption of nuts and seeds as part of a healthy diet."
J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(3):233-40.
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