The perfect snack is also nature's perfect cure

There's a lot of nutty diet advice out there, especially this time of year when fad New Year's weight-loss plans start making the rounds.

But there's one piece of advice that you'd be absolutely NUTS not to follow -- and that's to eat more nuts.

They're not just a filling and healthy snack packed with essential nutrients.

Several new studies show how nuts offer powerful protection from some of today's leading killer disease, including both CANCER and HEART DISEASE.

Imagine that!

Big Pharma has been working for years to create a magic pill that can prevent these diseases, and they've come up empty every time. But it turns out that "magic pill" has been right in front of us all along.

So, crack open some nuts while I share with you the latest research, including a study that shows WHY nuts are so effective.

It's because they can fight the one underlying condition shared by so many deadly diseases: inflammation.

Eating a handful of nuts five times a week can cut your inflammation levels over the long run, slashing C-reactive protein by 20 percent and interleukin-6 by 16 percent.

These are two key markers of chronic disease risk -- and when you cut those levels, those risks plunge right along with it.

This isn't just a theoretical benefit. A second new study shows the real-world results as folks who snack on nuts have a lower risk of all the conditions seniors fear most.

Heart disease, for example, is the number one killer in America -- but if you eat nuts, your risk of coronary heart disease will plunge by 29 percent, and the risk of cardiovascular disease will drop by 21 percent

Cancer is our number two killer, right behind heart disease. Eat nuts, however, and the risk plunges by 15 percent.

Diabetes is our number 6 cause of death, but probably much higher when you consider that many heart disease patients are also diabetics.

But if you eat nuts, the risk of diabetes drops by 39 percent.

Nuts will even slash your risk of respiratory diseases by 52 percent and infectious diseases by 75 percent.

When you cut the risk of all these causes of death, you cut the risk of dying too soon -- and, as a result, the study in BMC Medicine finds a steady nut habit cuts the risk of death from all causes by 22 percent.

The key with nuts is to eat real nuts. The sugars and other additives in processed and flavored nuts can cause inflammation, not cut it -- and that'll increase your risk of disease.

And since nuts are dense in calories, limit yourself to a handful a day as a filling snack to enjoy between meals, or sprinkled on top of a salad.