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Enjoy a nutty snack for brain health.

Enjoy a nutty snack for brain health.

There are many lifestyle factors that can influence your lifespan and the degree of good health you enjoy over the years. Previously on this blog, we've discussed how exercising regularly can provide nutrition for the mind, and we've also showcased specific vitamins, minerals and natural compounds to incorporate in your diet to achieve this effect. Now, an observational study has indicated that the simple act of snacking on nuts on a regular basis could also result in better long-term health, so unless you have an allergy to walnuts and pecans, home-made trail mix may be in your future.

HealthDay News reported on the observational study led by researchers from the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The scientists sought to gauge how regularly consuming nuts influenced specific causes of mortality such as heart disease, diabetes and other serious health concerns. Using data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, they were able to monitor the overall health of 76,000 women and 42,000 men, none of whom suffered from cardiac issues or stroke.

In doing so, they discovered a correlation between eating nuts and a reduced risk of potentially fatal medical conditions. Experts were quick to note, however, that this may be related as much to what nut-eaters avoided as the actual nutrients they derived from their favorite snacks.

"This study adds to the research that nuts are part of an overall healthful diet, especially if people are choosing to have nuts instead of chips or candy. Nuts are a whole package of health, and they've shown some cancer-protective qualities […] but nuts aren't a magic bullet," explained American Institute for Cancer Research representative Alice Bender, who specializes in nutrition programs.

Further research is necessary to confirm this correlation, but it may be enough of an incentive to carry around a bag of peanuts or almonds to satisfy your snack cravings throughout the day.