With 2017 right around the corner, you may be looking to add some new healthy habits to your routine. Between making meatless Monday a weekly thing and learning how to order healthy at restaurants to carefully considering your first Whole30 diet, there are plenty of big changes you can make in the name of better health. But one new study is shedding some light on a super simple addition you can make to your diet to reap some major rewards: eating a handful of nuts.

Women sitting on sofa watching a movie

According to researchers from Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, people who eat at least 20g, or a small handful, of nuts a day have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. The research team analyzed 29 published studies from around the world on the health effects of all kinds of tree nuts, plus peanuts. They found that eating at least 20g of nuts can cut people’s risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30 percent, their risk of cancer by 15 percent and their risk of premature death by 22 percent. That seems like a massive health benefit to us, especially when cashews and macadamia nuts are so delicious.


“We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food,” says study co-author Dagfinn Aune.

Researchers say that it’s nuts’ many nutritional benefits that make them powerful at fighting disease. Dagfinn adds, “Nuts and peanuts are high in fiber, magnesium and polyunsaturated fats — nutrients that are beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels.”

For you nut lovers out there: Researchers also note that there are no additional disease-fighting effects for people who eat more than 20g of nuts a day. Damn.

Check out some more nutty, healthy snack options on our Pinterest page!

(Photos via Getty)