Eating half a handful of nuts a day can cut the risk of premature death by 23 percent, according to a major study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers from Maastricht University Medical Centre tracked more than 120,000 Dutch men and women between the ages of 55 to 69 during a 10-year period, studying their dietary and lifestyle habits, and concluded that consumption of peanuts and tree nuts—which include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and walnuts—decreases mortality risk across a 10-year period by 23 percent. In addition, the research revealed a decreased risk of death due to neurodegenerative disease by 45 percent, respiratory disease by 39 percent, and diabetes by 30 percent. The study is the first to link the consumption of specific nuts with disease prevention, although previous evidence cites nuts as a helpful agent for cardiovascular health. This is not an excuse for digging into that jar of peanut butter, though: nut products such as butters and spreads that are high in salt and trans fats were not linked to decreased mortality.