Aww, nuts!

nutsYes, nuts! Eating just an ounce of them a day—any kind of nut—could save your life. So said anchorman Brian Williams last night on the NBC news at 5:30 p.m.

I knew there was a reason I love cashews so much.

No, seriously: I googled this morning. And Williams was right: a study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Young Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health came to that conclusion recently. It was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Dr. Charles Fuchs of Dana-Farber, who led the team. “But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer.”

Even peanuts—a legume, not a true nut—works, according to the study.

The study found that nuts were helpful in keeping pounds off, too, though it didn’t get into why, exactly. But I have a theory: nuts are packed with protein, so they’re filling. A handful of nuts instead of potato chips or cookies not only gives you a high-protein boost, they satisfy that mid-afternoon urge to munch on something. But they’re high in calories, as well, so it’s best to limit the amount you eat to an ounce or so.

The other thing that caught my attention recently was this: taking aspirin atCoinToss-Aspirin-Cartoon night increases the likelihood that it might help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Millions of people take baby aspirin or low-dose aspirin (80-100mgs) every day because it thins the blood and helps to prevent platelets clumping, thereby reducing the chance of having a heart attack or stroke. But according to a study  by researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, cardiac events are three times more likely to occur in the morning hours. By taking low-dose aspirin right before bed at night, you might reduce your chance of having a heart attack or stroke after rising in the morning.

Seems like an easy change to make for such a big benefit, doesn’t it?

In other news, it finally rained here in Northern California yesterday. Today, the clouds are gone, but it was very nice while it lasted. We got a decent (if wet and melty) snowfall at the higher elevations in the Sierras, too.

The quick changes in the barometric pressure have been irritating my ol’ buddy the rheuma-dragon—he’s been gnawing on my hands and hips with aggravated intensity since yesterday morning—but the good, soaking rain was worth it.

It’s supposed to be quite windy this afternoon and evening. I’d prefer more rain, but as long as the temperature stays below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, I’ll take it. Makes it easier to believe the holiday season is upon us, even without any actual wintry weather.


“Studies have found that people who eat nuts have all sorts of biological benefits: less inflammation, which is linked to heart disease and cancer; less fat packed around the internal organs; better blood sugar levels; lower blood pressure — and even fewer gallstones.”

The pull-quotes above and below are from the NBC link in the early part of this post. And let us not forget that less inflammation could have a beneficial effect on those of us with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, too.


“[R]esearchers reported that people already eating a healthy diet who added nuts or olive oil to their diets were less likely to suffer memory loss and in February scientists reported that they cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.”

UPDATE UPDATE: RheumaBlog has been nominated for Best Health Blog, 2013 by!  Wow! The contest ends January 20, 2014. First place wins $1,000; second place wins $100; and third place wins $50.

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2 thoughts on “Aww, nuts!

  1. My friend told me about the nut thing the other day as she served us dark-chocolate covered almonds. According to her it’s a double health punch because dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. I’m not sure it works that way, but I’d like to believe it. Alas … I think they mean nuts without a whole lot of added salt and sweetness.


  2. Guten abend, rouchwalwe! What a wonderful way to benefit from both good foods–chocolate and almonds! And your friend is quite right. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Chocolate and its main ingredient, cocoa, appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate or white chocolate — also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: The evidence for the health benefits of chocolate comes mostly from short-term and uncontrolled studies. More research is needed.” Here’s the link to the rest:

    I used to love milk chocolate, but in my more recent adulthood have come to prefer it dark and bittersweet. What a treat! 😀


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