Nuts and seeds are good for the heart and help you live longer

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A high intake of fatty acids from plant oils, nuts and seeds in your diet seems to lower the risk of death from all causes. Eating nuts with lots of essential omega-3 fatty acid, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lowers the risk of heart disease by helping to maintain normal rhythm and pumping.

The acid ‑ in plants such as soybean, nuts, canola oils and flaxseed ‑ is an unsaturated fat, an important part of a healthy diet.

An international team analysed 41 studies published between 1991 and 2021 involving 120,000 people aged from 18 to 98.

Researchers found a high intake of ALA was associated with 113 fewer deaths per 10,000 for all causes, 33 fewer cardiovascular disease-related deaths and 23 fewer coronary heart disease fatalities.

But the study, published in the BMJ journal, also found an association with a slightly higher chance of dying from cancer, and recommended further analysis to confirm the risk.

Study co-author Dr Omid Sadeghi of Iran’s Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said the findings add to growing evidence of the health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

“Further studies should examine the association between ALA and a wider range of causes of death to provide a more comprehensive assessment.”

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