Here's a health tip in a nutshell: Eating a handful of nuts a day for a year—along with a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish—may help undo a collection of risk factors for heart disease, the AP reports. Spanish researchers found that adding nuts worked better than boosting the olive oil in a typical Mediterranean diet. Both regimens cut the heart risks known as metabolic syndrome in more people than a low-fat diet did.
"What's most surprising is they found substantial metabolic benefits in the absence of calorie reduction or weight loss," one doctor said. In the study, the people who improved most were told to eat about three whole walnuts, seven or eight whole hazelnuts and seven or eight whole almonds. They didn't lose weight, on average, but more of them succeeded in reducing belly fat and improving their cholesterol and blood pressure.