You all like your afternoon snack, but not all of you enjoy a healthy portion. How many of you eat nuts for a snack? Read this article, and you will be surprised of how nuts make for a healthy snack, unlike all those chocolate bars or chips.
Nuts are loaded with healthy fat, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. If their fat content is what worries you, think twice, because nuts cannot affect your weight, of course, when consumed in healthy portions.
Researchers have busted the myth of nuts and their ability to increase weight. It is exactly the opposite. Regular consumption of nuts stimulates a healthy weight loss process, and this is one of the greatest benefits of this food.
Eat more nuts to drop down your systolic blood pressure and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome like low HDL cholesterol, abdominal obesity, and high fasting glucose.
Nutrients in nuts also protect the cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Regular consumption of nuts is also associated with lower mortality risk and life extension.
The amino acid l-arginine is found in walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and almonds. It provides many vascular benefits to patients with heart disease, and individuals with a higher risk of heart disease as a result of several cardiac risk factors.
Nuts will help you live longer
According to a large-scale, 30 year-long Harvard study, eating a small handful of nuts, or an ounce of nuts several times a week decreases the risk of death for any reason.
Here is what Washington Post reported regarding this issue:
“Even those who ate nuts less than once a week had a seven percent reduction in risk. Consuming nuts at least five times a week corresponded to a 29 percent drop in mortality risk for heart disease, a 24 percent decline for respiratory disease and an 11 percent drop for cancer.”
According to another study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, middle-aged women who enjoyed a Mediterranean-style diet regimen that was abundant in nuts and fresh veggies had 40% greater chances of living their next decades without developing a chronic disease and even age-related memory deterioration.
‘Nuts’ and diseases
A recent research conducted at the Maastricht University showed that by consuming 0.3 ounces of nuts or peanuts a day you can reduce the risk of death caused by cancer, diabetes, respiratory and neurodegenerative disease by 23%. It took a decade for the researchers to finish the research.
Nut consumers reduced their risk for:
- Neurodegenerative disease by 45%
- Respiratory disease by 38%
- Diabetes by 30%
Professor Piet van den Brand, the lead author, explained: “It was remarkable that substantially lower mortality was already observed at consumption levels of 15 g of nuts or peanuts on average per day.”
We have to mention that having the word ‘nuts’ in their name is the only way peanuts are associated with nuts. They are actually legume, and most experts do not recommend their consumption, because peanuts are usually cultivated with pesticides and contaminated with aflatoxin.
Peanut allergy is also pretty common if not one of the most common food allergies known to mankind.
When it comes to their nutritional value, peanuts are high in omega-6 fatty acids which could interfere with your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This is the issue you may be dealing with if you consume too much processed foods and too little omega-3 fats.
Researchers also revealed that peanut butter provides no health benefits. This should not surprise you, because most products are packed with processed salt and trans-unsaturated fatty acids.
Tree nuts are mighty foods
Nuts provide an ideal ratio of healthy nutrients which makes them an ideal choice for your everyday menu. Healthy portions of nuts will keep you from stuffing yourself with tons of calories. You get healthy fats (most of your daily calories), a moderate amount of good protein and some non-vegetable carbs in one portion.
Macadamia nuts and pecans
Some nuts have a better ratio than others. Macadamia nuts and pecans have the highest amount of healthy fat, and contain the lowest amount of carbs and protein.
Raw macadamia nuts have the greatest amount of vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese. Pecans are abundant in more than 19 different vitamins and minerals that reduce LDL cholesterol and strengthen arteries, as shown by several studies.
A single serving of macadamia nuts provides 58% of you daily intake of manganese, and 23% of the required amounts of thiamin. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, makes about 60% of the fatty acid content in macadamia nuts. This is pretty much the same amount found in olives, and you all know how good olives are, right?
These have amazing health-boosting benefits, including an astonishing anti-cancer activity. A study showed that walnuts reduced the risk of breast cancer in mice by whopping 50%. These nuts also cut down the risk of prostate cancer spread by 30-40 percent. Walnuts improve the reproductive health in male patients. These are just a few benefits associated with the ‘fatty nuts.’
A quarter cup of walnuts gives more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, as well as copper, manganese, molybdenum and biotin.
Nutritionists say that more than 90% of the antioxidants in walnuts are concentrated in their skin, meaning that this is the healthiest part of these nuts. Sometimes the skin is slightly bitter, and most people like to peel it off, but if you are one of them, you should be aware of the fact that your antioxidants end in the garbage (or compost for your garden). Not the greatest thing to do, do not you agree?
Although pistachios are pretty much at the bottom of the list of healthy fats, considering their fat/protein/carb ratio, they still provide some amazing health benefits, and this applies especially to diabetics.
When compared to other nuts, pistachios are packed with lutein, beta carotene, and gamma-tocopherol (Vitamin E). A serving or two will decrease your oxidized LDL cholesterol.
For optimal benefits and real health boost, find organic and raw nuts. The irradiated or pasteurized thing is not the product you need. Be especially careful when buying almonds, because even the ‘raw’ label cannot guarantee that you are holding a pasteurized product. This applies especially to most markets in the US. Wonder why? There were some salmonella outbreaks back in 2001 and 2004, and raw almonds were found to be the main reason for that. Starting since September 1, 2007 all almonds must go through a pasteurization process before they reach the market.
There is no such thing like ‘good’ pasteurization process. Stay away from almonds that have been oil- or dry roasted, blanched, steam-processed or treated with propylene oxide (PPO). Buy your almonds from vendors who guarantee for their produce. These usually sell small quantities of almonds that have not even been touched at all.
Here is another thing you should keep in mind when it comes to almonds. Same as with walnuts, most of the antioxidants in almonds are contained in their skin. Do not peel your almonds if you want to get your phenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
According to a study that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, an ounce of almonds provides the same amount of polyphenols as a cup of steam-cooked broccoli or green tea.
In other words, look for almonds that have not been de-skinned, or blanched.
‘Organic’ is always the thing to seek for
Raw and organic nuts are the kind of superfood you need in your menu. Enjoy them more often to get your portion of healthy fats, as in avocados, raw dairy and butter made from grass-fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts and coconut oil, and grass-fed meat.
Source: Juicing For Health