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According to new research, eating walnuts two or three times a week can reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes by almost a quarter.

A new study of nearly to 140,000 adult women in the U.S. shows consistent regular servings of small portion of nuts can have a powerful preventive effect against the disease that is close to becoming a world wide epidemic.

The study found that women who ate 28 gram portions of walnuts at least twice a week were 24% less likely of developing type two diabetes than those who rarely or never consumed them.

The latest research findings are now published in the Journal of Nutrition. This wouldn’t be the first time research has discovered the benefits of eating walnuts to help prevent the development of diabetes and reduce the risk of cancer. Previous research have shown similar benefits to eating nuts.

However, this discovery is thought to be one of the largest to find that consistently snacking on nuts can help prevent the disease.

Although the latest research was carried out on females, it’s likely that the same preventive benefits will apply to men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S. That’s roughly 8.3% of the U.S. population. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

If diabetes is left untreated, it can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness and eye problems, kidney disease, dental disease and limb amputation.

Leading scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, tracked 137,893 females ages 35 to 77 over a ten year period to find out how many developed type two diabetes. The women’s dietary habits were carefully watched, including details on how often they ate nuts, particularly walnuts.

The researchers found eating walnuts one to three times a month curbed the risk by 4%, once a week by 13% and at least twice a week by 24%.

The new finding were detailed in a report with researchers saying: ‘These results suggest higher walnut consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk and prevention of developing type two diabetes in women.’

Walnuts are heavy in healthy fatty acids which are shown to reduce inflammation in the body and protect against heart disease, arthritis and even cancer.