Healthy Nuts and Seeds You Should Include in Your Diet

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are the main nutrients contained in nuts and seeds? Why do nutritionists recommend eating them despite their high-calorie content? What health benefits do they provide?

Nuts and seeds are both nutritional powerhouses chock full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Many studies have shown nuts and seeds have some remarkable health properties such as the reduced risk of heart disease, lowering of blood pressure, and prevention of cancer proliferation.

In their book How Not to Die, Gene Stone and Michael Greger hail healthy nuts and seeds for their disease-fighting benefits. Here are the key recommendations.

Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

Both nuts and seeds are usually very high in fat. So, why do nutritionists recommend eating them? The reason is that the fat contained in healthy nuts and seeds is a good type. They also contain other important macro and micro-nutrients.

  • ¼ cup of nuts daily may lead to lifespan extension of 2 years+
  • Nuts have high caloric density, but studies show that adding nuts to diet causes lower weight gain than control. Where do the high calories from nuts go?
    • 70% of nut calories displace other foods.
    • 10% of calories are not absorbed by the gut.
    • 20% may come from nuts boosting metabolism.


  • Have the highest antioxidant and omega-3 levels and suppress cancer proliferation in vitro.
  • The PREDIMED study showed the Mediterranean diet with nuts reduced stroke risk by 50%, and lowered all-cause mortality risk by 39%, while olive oil did not reduce all-cause mortality.


  • Women at high risk for heart disease who eat nuts or peanut butter daily halve their risk of heart attack compared to non-eaters.


  • Erectile dysfunction is an early sign of vascular disease and can predict heart disease.
    • 40 over 40 rule: 40% of men over age 40 have erectile dysfunction.
  • 3 to 4 handfuls of pistachios a day for 3 weeks show improvement of erectile function by 50%
  • The Nurses’ Health Study show pistachios can also improve female lifespan.


  • Contains lignans and omega-3 fatty acids
  • It’s best to blend flaxseeds for better digestion. Ground flaxseed should last at least 4 months at room temperature.
  • A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial showed blood pressure drop from 158/82 to 143/75 after eating a few tablespoons of flaxseed a day, compared to no change in control.
  • Prostate cancer patients eating 3 tablespoons per day of flaxseed after a month show a lower cancer proliferation rate.
  • ijoviorer
Healthy Nuts and Seeds You Should Include in Your Diet

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  • The health benefits of a plant-based, whole-food diet
  • How to reduce your risk of developing the most common diseases that can kill you
  • The 12 foods you should eat daily to maximize health benefits

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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