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Friday 7 October 2016

Health Benefits of Nuts

Franziska Spritzler RD CDE writes:
"Nuts are a very popular food. They’re tasty, convenient and can be enjoyed on all kinds of diets. Despite being high in fat, they also have a number of impressive benefits for your health (and weight).

What Are Nuts?
Nuts are technically considered a fruit. However, unlike most types of fruit, they aren’t sweet and are high in fat. They contain a hard, inedible outer shell that usually needs to be cracked open to release the fruit inside. Fortunately, you can buy most nuts from the store “pre-shelled” so that you don’t have to crack them open yourself.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly consumed nuts:
Brazil nuts
Macadamia nuts
Pine nuts

Although peanuts are technically legumes like peas and beans, they are often referred to as nuts because they have similar nutrition profiles and characteristics.

Now let’s look at the top 8 health benefits of eating nuts.

1. Nuts Are a Great Source of Many Nutrients
Nuts are highly nutritious - some nuts have higher amounts of certain nutrients than others. Nuts are generally an excellent food to eat on a low-carb diet.

Bottom Line: Nuts are high in fat, low in carbs and a great source of several nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

2. Nuts Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Nuts are an antioxidant powerhouse. Research has shown that the antioxidants in walnuts and almonds can protect the delicate fats in your cells from being damaged by oxidation.

Bottom Line: Nuts contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may protect cells and LDL cholesterol from damage.

3. Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight
Although they’re considered a high-calorie food, research suggests that nuts may actually help you lose weight. Almonds have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled studies. One study found that pistachios may also be helpful for weight loss.

Bottom Line: Nuts have been shown to help promote weight loss rather than contribute to weight gain. Several studies have found that the body doesn’t absorb all of the calories in nuts.

4. Nuts Can Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Nuts have impressive effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pistachios have been shown to lower triglycerides in obese people and diabetics. Almonds and hazelnuts appear to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.

Bottom Line: Nuts may help lower total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting levels of HDL cholesterol.

5. Nuts Are Beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that affects hundreds of millions of people.
Having a condition called metabolic syndrome is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, nuts may be one of the best foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. First off, they are low in carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels much. Substituting nuts for higher-carb foods should lead to reduced blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that eating nuts may also lower oxidative stress, blood pressure and other health markers in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Bottom Line: Several studies have shown that blood sugar, blood pressure and others health markers improve when nuts are included in diets of people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

6. Nuts Can Help Reduce Inflammation
Nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties. I
nflammation is your body’s way of defending itself from injury, as well as bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens. However, chronic (long-term) inflammation can cause damage to organs and increase disease risk. Research suggests that eating nuts may reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging.

Bottom Line: Research suggests that nuts may be helpful for reducing inflammation, especially in people with diabetes, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.

7. Nuts Are High in Fiber
Fiber provides many health benefits. Although your body can’t digest fiber, the bacteria that live in your colon can. Many types of fiber function as prebiotics or “food” for your healthy gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and turn it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs have powerful benefits, including improving gut health and reducing your risk of diabetes and obesity.

Here are the nuts with the highest fiber content per 1-oz (28-gram) serving:
Almonds: 3.5 grams
Pistachios: 2.9 grams
Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
Pecans: 2.9 grams
Peanuts: 2.6 grams
Macadamias: 2.4 grams
Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams

Bottom Line: Many nuts are high in fiber, which can reduce disease risk, help keep you full, decrease calorie absorption and improve gut health.

8. Nuts Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Nuts are extremely good for your heart. Several studies suggest that nuts help lower heart disease and stroke risk because of their benefits for cholesterol levels, LDL particle size, artery function and inflammation. Studies have found that small, dense LDL particles may increase heart disease risk more than larger LDL particles.

Bottom Line: Nuts may significantly lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. That’s because nuts increase LDL particle size, raise HDL cholesterol, improve artery function and have various other benefits for heart health.

Nuts Are Delicious, Versatile and Widely Available
Nuts are undeniably tasty and satisfying. They can be enjoyed whole, as nut butters or chopped up and sprinkled on food. It’s actually quite easy to make your own homemade nut butter using whichever combination of nuts you like. Nuts can be purchased in grocery stores or online. They are available in a wide variety of options, including salted or unsalted, seasoned or plain, raw or roasted. In general, it’s healthiest to eat nuts raw or toast them in the oven at a temperature below 350°F (175°C). Dry-roasted nuts are the next-best option, but try to avoid nuts roasted in vegetable and seed oils. Nuts can be kept at room temperature, which makes them ideal for on-the-go snacks and traveling. However, if you’re going to be storing them for long then a refrigerator or freezer will keep them fresher. At the end of the day, nuts are a highly nutritious and super tasty food that can fit into almost everyone’s diet. Eating nuts on a regular basis is a very enjoyable way to improve your health."

Please note, the above is not Franziska's full article, it only gives 'snippets'.
To read her full article on 'Authority Nutrition' site, which contains all relevant links, please see here

We try and bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you.

If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Jo said...

I love any type of nut. The nutcrackets always came out at Christmas when I was a child, there'd always be a tray of mixed nuts but I always needed help with the walnuts and the brazil nuts.

Martha said...

Delicious and nutritious!

Summer said...

I looove nuts! Thanks for all the info ♥

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I knew nuts were healthy and keep a jar of almonds and walnuts to munch when hungry. So many people are allergic to them these days, an unheard of thing growing up and absolutely no peanut butter sandwiches in schools today.

Snowbird said...

What interesting info, I had no idea that nuts were this good for you!xxx

Kasztanowy Domek said...

I loved nuts! Happy weekend!:)


JFM said...

I am totally with you on this posting, Jan...nuts are truly a valuable source of food.
And this post is a valuable source of information, as is your blog~
Happy Friday, Jan

Gingi said...

Yum yum yum! I just made a dessert that had cashews, pecans and almonds.. haha.. love em! -

happyone said...

Nice to know that something I love is always good for me. : )

John M said...

My favorites include walnuts, chestnuts, pistachios...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. We keep a variety of "no salt added" nuts in our pantry for snacking.
Growing up, my childhood home had several large pecan trees. I love pecans!
Blessings to you this weekend, Jan.

only slightly confused said...

Nuts are among my favourite foods. A lifetime love that started with my first memories of Christmas. The folks always had bowls of nuts out during the holidays. Now we enjoy them year round.

Christine said...

I think I will go have a handful right now, we always have virginia peanuts and cashews on hand for snacking!

Linda said...

Great post! My favourite nuts are cashews and pistachios.

Revrunner said...

Love those almonds!

Gail said...

Walnuts and pecans are my go to snacks. I have be trying to reduce cholesterol since I cannot take statens nor do I want to take them. I haven't tested the results yet.

Hubby takes many different medicines. One is causing his memory to lag. Doc is not concerned at all because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and it's doing what it should for his heart.

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh these assorted nuts look so good, Jan. I am a nut lover, and my favorite is macadamia nuts, but they're a bit expensive and don't get them that often. I love almonds too and put pecans in my oatmeal. Nuts are so healthy for us. Thanks for reminding me of that.


Bob Bushell said...

And, I am in love with nuts, nice one Jan.

Christine said...

I love nuts its just that my teeth don't!
Thanks for the great information!

Sara - Villa Emilia said...

I too love nuts and am very sorry for those people that are allergic to them.
Thank you for sharing this interesting information. Have a great weekend! xx

The Happy Whisk said...

Love me some nuts.

Lisa said...

Like Jo I remember the nutcrackers coming out at Christmas. My mum was the one who ate them. I try and eat a few every couple of days and am liking them the more I eat them.
Lisa x