Go nuts  and take in the benefits of almonds

Almonds are just about the perfect snack. They're tasty, portable and satisfying -- and ounce for ounce, you won't find too many other foods with as many of the health benefits of almonds.

These delicious nuts can also help fight or prevent major disease, with six new studies showing how a regular almond habit can ward off dementia, protect the heart, help control blood sugar and more.

The studies, presented at a recent American Society for Nutrition conference, show how even a handful of almonds a day can do more for your overall health than many drugs.

In one study, patients at risk for diabetes given 1.5 ounces of almonds a day had better blood sugar concentrations and more control over their appetite. They also had higher intakes of healthy fats and vitamin E as some of the health benefits of almonds.

In another study, adding almonds to the diet (and making no other changes) didn't lead to weight loss, but did lead to a loss of body fat -- especially the abdominal fat linked to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.

Almonds even appear to have a bit of a halo effect. When you eat them, you tend to eat other healthier foods—which is why another study finds that almond eaters have better nutrition and diet than people who don't eat the nuts.

It's not just almonds.

Nuts in general -- including cashews, walnuts and pistachios -- are loaded in healthy fats and nutrients that can help prevent disease and even extend lives. On recent study found that eating just an ounce of nuts a day can slash your risk of an early death by 20 percent.

So go ahead -- go nuts for nuts. Work them into your salads and recipes, or just eat them plain in between meals.

And for a diet that includes nuts and other delicious treats -- including chocolate -- consider going Mediterranean.

Read this free report from my House Calls archives to learn more.