Snacking on nuts and seeds boosts your heart health to such an extent that it could slash your risk of premature death by nearly half, a new study suggests.
Researchers in Finland tracked 2,500 men for 22 years, monitoring their overall health, with a focus on the fatty acid levels in their blood.
They found that those with a higher intake of linoleic acid, found in omega-6-rich foods like pine nuts and pumpkins seeds and vegetable oil, were 43 percent less likely to die early of preventable diseases.
The study also claimed they found no evidence to support fears that linoleic acid could promote cancer-causing inflammation – though it did nothing to protect people from cancer, either.
Scientists from the University of Eastern Finland determined the blood fatty acid levels of 2,480 men between 42 and 60 years of age at the onset of the study, in 1984-1989.
During an average follow-up of 22 years, 1,143 men died of disease-related causes. Deaths due to an accident or other reasons were excluded from the study.
Professor Jyrki Virtanen said: “Linoleic acid is the most common polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid.
“We discovered that the higher the blood linoleic acid level, the smaller the risk of premature death.
“When we divided the study participants into five different groups based on their blood linoleic acid level, they discovered that the risk of premature death was 43 percent lower in the group with the highest level, when compared to the group with the lowest level.”
Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are known for their beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels.