Nuts are superheroes with an arsenal of fancy ninja moves. Some of the largest health studies in history — the Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study — have consistently shown that snacking on raw nuts can lead to a 50pc reduction in heart disease.
Research from the British Medical Journal goes further, identifying nuts as one of seven foods that can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 75pc. You’ll be relieved to hear that dark chocolate and red wine qualify too. You’re welcome.
But don’t get too giddy, my friend. You’ll need to recruit the unprocessed, unsalted variety to make a difference to your ticker. Anything else is cheating.
Those flavoured packets in pubs? Bye-bye.
We know that unsalted raw nuts contain special-agent fats that help raise your protective ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), while lowering that menacing ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Another special-agent fat, omega-3, might also help prevent blood clots, much the same way as aspirin does. You’ll find omega 3s dancing in walnuts.
Many nuts are rich in arginine too. Scientists, look away while I mutilate your language. Arginine is an amino acid necessary to make a molecule called nitric oxide that relaxes constricted blood vessels and eases blood flow. Think of it as the Bach of the blood.
This might help explain why nuts are applauded for their role in protecting arterial walls, making the walls more pliable and less susceptible to damage. Good news for health insurers. So go nuts with this flapjack recipe, and let your ticker do somersaults. Oh, and just use an ordinary cup from your kitchen cupboard to measure the ingredients.