Previously, we’ve written about the health benefits of red wine and dark chocolate. Continuing with this theme, we’re going to talk about nuts. I know, this food isn’t as stirring as wine and chocolate, but were you really expecting that our next blog post would reveal that cotton candy treats gout?
Nuts are pretty exciting because they come in different varieties, and they happen to taste good, too. Let’s get nuts already and take a look at what makes them healthy.
Good for Your Heart
Not to get dark, but heart disease is a leading cause of death in America, which is why we must take care of our tickers.
The Mayo Clinic has examined all the ways that nuts increase heart health. For starters , they contain unsaturated fatty acids, protein, and other nutrients, which hearts like. They also reduce the risk of heart attacks by:
- Lowering your bad cholesterol
- Fortifying the lining of your arteries
- Reducing levels of inflammation
- Lessing the risk of developing blood clots
Packed with Antioxidants
Forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but we jump at the opportunity to write the word “antioxidants” because it sounds cool, and antioxidants are really really good for you. They’re important because they fight off oxidation (ergo, ANTIoxidants), a bad chemical reaction that creates free radicals that assault your cells. If this sounds like a body chemistry uprising, it sort of is.
Studies show that walnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews contain the polyphenol antioxidant, which reduces oxidative damage and bad cholesterol.
First, let’s say something nice about inflammation: it’s the body’s natural defense against injuries, bacteria, and pathogens. But, when it wears out its welcome, it has the potential to harm your organs and make you vulnerable to life-threatening conditions like diabetes and kidney disease. Our friends at Healthline did some research and found that pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds reduce inflammation in people with these and other serious health conditions.
Lots of Fiber
Addressing your colon and gut bacteria may not be appropriate table-talk, but ingesting fiber during meals is very important.
You’ve heard of probiotics. There are also prebiotics, compounds that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut and gastrointestinal tract. Fiber functions as a prebiotic. Nuts that are high in fiber–almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, macadamias, and Brazil nuts–may improve gut health, decrease calorie absorption (because fiber makes you feel full), and reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.
It’s important to note that while indulgent ingredients like salt and sugary coatings might make nuts taste even more fantastic, they may also cancel out the health benefits Nuts are also high in calories, so you need to be mindful of the optimal serving size of a handful or quarter cup, and The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts per week.
Now go forth, and go nuts, but do so in moderation.