All About Nuts..
Just like fruits and vegetables, nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals beneficial to health.
A healthy daily intake of nuts is 30g (a small handful)
The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat).
Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, and pistachios – these days, medical research has been touting nuts as nutritional powerhouses. But why are they so good for our health and how many should we be eating?
Nuts have been seen as heart protectors, but a recent study has even suggested that people who eat nuts daily have better health and longer lives than their counterparts who never eat nuts.
Nuts are easy to carry and hassle free to consume as they need no preparation. A fistful of nuts can provide us not only the required calories but also all the essential nutrients in the desired amounts.
“Good” Fats and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Refined oils (namely corn and soybean oil) found in processed foods, as well as saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products) are major contributors to the typical over-consumption of unhealthy fats. Focusing on whole, plant-based foods in general will naturally help bring your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio into a healthier balance.
Excessive amounts of omega-6 in the diet and a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promote cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Conversely, higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, and help manage inflammatory conditions including arthritis and asthma.
Containing mostly “good” fats, nuts are one of the best sources of a type of heart-healthy omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Most of the fat in nuts is polyunsaturated, with smaller quantities of monounsaturated and saturated fat. Omega-3s are a specific type of polyunsaturated fat that have cholesterol-lowering and disease-prevention properties.
Nuts are rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that has been shown to improve blood vessel function. Specifically, L-arginine helps relax blood vessels, making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that could block blood flow.
Arginine has also been shown to boost immune function, promote wound healing, and help manage existing cardiovascular disease. Nuts are the best dietary sources of arginine. Walnuts, peanuts and almonds are especially high in the amino acid.
Dietary fiber has numerous health benefits, including normalizing bowel movements, maintaining bowel health, lowering blood cholesterol, helping to control blood sugar levels, and aiding in weight loss.Fiber increases stool bulk, making it easier to pass and helping to prevent constipation.
Nuts are an excellent source of soluble fiber, the type that helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. They are also low on the glycemic index, a property thought to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin receives the most attention as a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E has the ability to seek out and neutralize potentially damaging chemicals, in theory preventing damage to body tissues and red blood cells. Vitamin E is also essential for healthy skin, proper immune function, DNA repair, and other metabolic processes.
Perhaps most impressively, Vitamin E has been found to help stop the development of arterial plaque, which can lead to coronary artery disease and ultimately heart attacks. Among nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and peanut butter have the highest Vitamin E content per serving
Nuts are a tasty and nutritious component of a healthy, balanced diet. Grab a handful of nuts as a snack, spread nut butter on an apple, or use them in raw dessert recipes…the possibilities are endless. They are convenient foods as they are easy to carry and can be consumed anywhere without any mess.