Be Nutty for Good Health

nuts,health benefits,heart benefits,cardiovascular benefits,almonds,cashews,chestnuts,hazelnuts,macademia nuts,peanuts,pecans,pine nuts,pistachios,walnutsNuts seem to be one of the best ways to achieve good health. They are full of protein and fiber, and most nuts possess healthy fats and antioxidants. In fact, certain nuts have some of the highest levels of antioxidants among all plant foods, such as walnuts or pecans. Nuts are also one of the best dietary sources of manganese. They also contain plant sterols and have low levels of saturated fats and high levels of unsaturated fats. Just as fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids have anti-atherosclerotic effects and anti-arrhythmic properties, so do nuts. In addition, nuts also reduce triglycerides and increase blood flow, which improves cardiovascular health.

Several studies have shown how beneficial nuts are for heart health. For instance, a 2006 study conducted by Emilio Ros and José Mataix and published in the British Journal of Nutrition (2006), 96 Suppl. 2 S29-S35,  concluded, “The fatty acids from nuts are important contributors to the beneficial health effects of frequent nut consumption, namely protection from the development of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death, lowering blood cholesterol, preservation or enhancement of LDL resistance to oxidation and improvement of endothelial [the cells that line the entire circulatory system from the heart to the capillaries] function.” Another study based on the results of four other studies—Adventist Health Study, Iowa Women’s Study, Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physician’s Health Study—and published in the British Journal of Nutrition in November 2006, found “the risk of coronary heart disease is 37% lower for those consuming nuts more than four times per week compared to those who never or seldom consume nuts.”

Nuts offer more than cardiac benefits. They lower the risk of diabetes, gallstones, and advanced macular degeneration (AMD). For instance, in a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, found that eating nuts had the potential to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. A 2004 study about gallstones found “frequent nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cholecystectomy,” and another study done by the Harvard School of Public Health in relation to AMD concluded that “Among individuals with the early or intermediate stages of AMD, total and specific types of fat intake, as well as some fat-containing food groups, modified the risk of progression to advanced AMD. Fish intake and nuts reduced risk.”

Nut Nutrients – Based on 1/3 Cup
Nut Calories Fats (g) Protein (g)
Almond  182.9 16.0  6.7 
Cashew  261.9 21.1  7.0 
Chestnut  98.9 1.0  1.5
Hazelnut  240.5 23.3  5.7 
Macademia  320.4 33.8  3.5 
Peanut  284.4 24.1  11.5 
Pecan  273.8 28.5  3.6
Pine Nut  256.3 23.0  10.9 
Pistachio  237.4 18.9  8.8
Walnut  261.3 26.1  6.1 

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