Doctors describe them as “natural health capsules”. Now one of the biggest studies of its kind suggests that a handful of hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios or Brazil nuts five times a week cuts the risk of heart disease by up to a quarter.

People who ate nuts frequently were significantly less likely to have blocked arteries or heart attacks, scientists found.

Nuts contain vitamins and healthy fatty acids that are thought to help to cut cholesterol and blood sugar. In the study, Harvard researchers used data on 210,000 doctors and nurses to look at the links between nut-eating and the 14,000 who suffered heart disease.

Those who ate nuts five times a week were 14 per cent less likely to suffer heart attacks .


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