Let’s talk about nuts.

Nuts are scary. Last week I completed an anaphylaxis e-training course in preparation for an upcoming placement at my local primary school (I’m currently studying to be a teacher). It was quite an eye-opener to learn about the severity of some peanut and tree nut allergies, with symptoms ranging from “difficult/noisy breathing” to “persistent dizziness and/or collapse”.1

While deaths from food allergy in Australia are rare, they are still a reality.2 The number of people with peanut allergies has also grown by a staggering 350 per cent over the past 20 years. Among the affected are 10 per cent of 12-month-old babies and 3 per cent of infants.3

For some, nuts are a serious problem. For most, however, nuts are part of the solution to achieving good health and longevity.

A systematic review of 20 different studies found that eating a small amount of nuts daily is associated with significantly less cardiovascular disease, cancer and death from all causes.4 Even more striking was the 75 per cent reduction in deaths from lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and kidney disease when nuts, including peanuts, are consumed daily.

In fact, it’s estimated that more than 4 million people (!) die each year from not eating enough nuts. (It’s funny—yet not funny—how the small things in our diets—and our lives—can make such a big difference.)

So, spend some cash on some cashews, or pick up some peanuts, pecans and pistachios. It’s time we made nuts a daily part of our diet. Anywhere between 30 and 50g of nuts (a handful) will give you a good dose of protein, fibre and essential fats, without making you bust out of your belt.5

For a thorough breakdown on the health benefits of nuts, click here. For more information and resources on food allergies and how to manage them, visit www.allergy.org.au.

Let’s go nuts for nuts!

—Linden Chuang/Signs of the Times

  1. https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/peanut-tree-nut-and-seed-allergy
  2. Ibid.
  3. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-28/probiotics-offer-hope-for-children-with-peanut-allergies/6051278
  4. http://www.empr.com/news/nut-consumption-tied-to-reduced-risk-of-multiple-diseases/article/577729/
  5. http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2015/04/20/4219922.htm