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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation president offers a nutty idea about longevity

Nuts might lead to a longer life, Oklahoma Medical Research Founcation’s Dr. Stephen Prescott says.
By Greg Elwell, For The Oklahoman Modified: May 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm •  Published: May 20, 2014

Nuts are delicious, ubiquitous and portable. They might also be the key to a longer life, said Dr. Stephen Prescott, president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

“A pair of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that people who ate nuts were 20 percent less likely to die than those who didn’t eat nuts,” Prescott said. “That really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. There’s been anecdotal evidence for a long time that nuts are healthy foods.”

Many cultures and diets known for “healthy eating” use nuts liberally, including Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Italian cuisines, he said.

The real surprise, Prescott said, was the inclusion of peanuts. Unlike pecans, walnuts and almonds, peanuts are technically a legume and are grown in the ground, not on trees.

“I would encourage people to take the news, and their nuts, with a grain of salt,” he said.

Don’t go overboard eating nuts — but find a way to work them into your diet, and you might be surprised at the benefits, he said.

Nuts are still high-calorie, high-fat foods. But what we’re now learning about healthy fats is related to the research of former OMRF researcher Petar Alaupovic, Ph.D., whose work influenced the way we understand healthy (HDL) and unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol.

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