Doing what we can to keep the threat of cancer at bay is one of the reasons many of us try to follow healthy living advice as possible - be that heading out to exercise as much as we can, or trying to be sensible when it comes to food.

Only recently it's been found that people who eat lots of nuts actually have less chance of dying of cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease, than people who don't. A study found people who crunch on these tasty treats over three times each week saw their chances of getting these illnesses go down.

It found nut eaters, particularly people who eat walnuts, have a better chance of living for longer.

When it came to the people eating the most nuts, fewer had type 2 diabetes, and nut eaters' risk of mortality was 39 per cent lower, and 45 per cent lower among walnut eaters.

People who munched over three servings of nuts weekly had a 55 per cent lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 40 per cent lower chance of dying from cancer.

Thousands of people, who were aged from 55 to 90, were split into two groups for the study. One ate a Mediterranean Diet with either nuts or extra virgin olive oil, the other another kind of diet that was low in fat.

The nut eaters tended to be people with smaller wastes and lower body mass indexes. They had a lower chance of smoking and did more exercise that non-nut eaters and people who didn't very often eat nuts. They also ate more fish, fruit and veg.

"Walnuts have particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals, especially in their ‘skin’ both of which, along with fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect," said professor Jordi Salas-Salvado, who was the leader of the study, which appeared in BMC Medicine, a journal.

But he also said that the way nuts can stop people dying early wasn't completely understood, and neither was the question of why walnuts are particularly good for people, compared to other types of nut.

Boost your walnut eating

If you want to boost your walnut eating habit, it couldn't be simpler. These nuts are easy to get hold of and taste great, so there's really no pain involved in adding them to your diet, only the fantastic fun of finding new ways to use them!

Halved on top of a salad can they add a real crunch to your leaves, and their sweet flavour will compliment a tangy dressing wonderfully.

Simply having a few as a snack will be healthier than opting for some of the more sugar-filled treats you can find on the shelves, and if you add some apple slices, or a smoothie, mid-morning, you could have a five-a-day boost too!