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Areca (Betel) Nuts Could Damage Your Health


(Areca nuts can have deleterious effects)

Not all nuts are good for your health, write a team of researchers in a letter in this week's BMJ. In particular the areca nut (often referred to as the betel nut), which is chewed by over 200 million people world wide is linked to several damaging effects on oral and general health report Chetan Trivedy and colleagues from King's College Hospital in London.

The authors report that consumption of areca has been strongly linked to the development of a potentially malignant disorder of the oral cavity and a high incidence of oral cancer in the Indian subcontinent and among Indian immigrants. They say that the nut has also been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and asthma. Trivedy et al conclude that recent research which suggests that eating nuts may be a safe and healthy habit should have specified safe nuts and considered the potentially damaging effects of others, such as areca.



Saman Warnakulasuriya, Reader in Oral Medicine & Pathology, King's College Hospital London

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