My husband and I have a little after-work tradition we lovingly refer to as “peanut happy hour.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: a pre-dinner snack, at home, of peanuts (unsalted, in the shell, bought in bulk) and, occasionally, a beer. It might be my favorite time of the day.
And now, after reading about a hot-off-the-presses study about the amazing power of nuts, I love our little custom even more. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people who make a regular habit of munching nuts appear to live longer than non-nut eaters. Listen to this, from the BBC: “The U.S. team said nut eaters were likely to also have healthy lifestyles, but the nuts themselves were also contributing to their longer lifespan.”
In layman’s terms: Nuts are magical, somehow.
The study followed 120,000 people for 30 years. Researchers found that the more often they ate nuts, the less likely they were to die of any cause—including heart disease or cancer—within the timeframe of the study. Once-a-week nut eaters were 11 percent less likely to die, four-times-a-week nut eaters were 13 percent less likely, and daily nut eaters (Me! Me! Me!) were 20 percent less likely to die.
The study doesn’t dive too deeply into the role different kinds of nuts might play in prolonging life, but dieticians warn that people shouldn’t reach for the salted/sugar-coated/chocolately variety because, well, duh. Some experts are calling for more research to confirm that it’s the power of the nuts that’s lending longevity or another aspect of the subjects’ lifestyles.
And before you head to the comments section and start hollering at me that PEANUTS ARE LEGUMES, NOT NUTS, YOU TWIT, NBC News offers this nugget of information: “Even peanuts, which technically aren’t nuts but legumes, helped. ‘We don’t see any difference in the benefits between peanuts and tree nuts,’ [lead researcher Dr. Charles] Fuchs said.”
To which I say: HA! HA! Peanut happy hour here I come.