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A Few Nuts Each Day. . .

Eating a handful of nuts several times a week could keep your heart healthy, according to a new study in this week's British Medical Journal. CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports.

During the past twenty years, Harvard researchers have been following more than 100,000 nurses to see what they can learn about our health. The latest findings looked at nurses who ate about a handful of nuts five times a week. The study found that the nurses had a 35 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who almost never ate them.

This finding is in keeping with other studies that have shown nuts to be beneficial to the heart.

While many people shy away from nuts because they are known to be high in fat, Dr. Senay says there is more to nuts than high calories.

The fat in nuts is mostly unsaturated, and that unsaturated fat seems to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. They also contain other beneficial nutrients that may also be good for the heart, including, magnesium, copper, folic acid, protein, potassium, fiber and vitamin E.

Unfortunately for lovers of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the researchers could find no real significant benefit to eating peanut butter. Still, peanuts seem to do the trick.

Nevertheless, nuts should be considered a protein source, not an excuse to snack. A moderate amount of nuts may be beneficial, but too much is not a good idea, Dr. Senay says.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay

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