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Eating just a handful of nuts every day could help keep you from dying prematurely.

A new study published Thursday in the International Journal of Epidemiology found a 23% lower chance of death over 10 years in people eating at least 10 grams of nuts per day.

The researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands found the nuts were best at warding off death from respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes; the reduction rate was as high as 45% for respiratory disease.

But before you go grab a spoon: although peanuts showed similar effects as tree nuts, the researchers did not see a preventative benefit from peanut butter.

The study was performed through the Netherlands Cohort Study, in which more than 120,000 Dutch people ages 55 to 69 provided dietary and lifestyle information in 1986, and their mortality rate was examined a decade later.

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Write to Tessa Berenson at

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