Nuts for Health

By on May 2, 2018

Eating a small handful of nuts regularly can bring many health benefits and may even help you live longer by lowering risks for certain diseases.

How can nuts improve your health?

Improved Heart Health – People who eat the most nuts have a 33 percent decrease in the risk of having coronary heart disease and nuts provide a lower risk of cardio vascular disease according to a medical reviews (BMC Medicine 2016). Research states that the high levels of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and magnesium can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of inflammation that is linked to heart disease. Eating nuts may also lower your risk of developing blood clots and improving the lining of the arteries.

Live Longer – People who consumed a minimum of 20 grams of nuts per day were 22 percent less likely to die prematurely. According to a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine Study with over 75,000 women and 40,000 men, a diet with regular consumption of nuts lowered premature mortality.

Enhanced Cognitive Function – Research on 15,647 older women in a Nurses’ Health Study indicates that the higher the consumption of nuts the better overall cognition function, especially  in women. This may be linked to the high fat content in nuts and the brain being primarily made up of fat. These results are published in the May 2014 Issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.

Healthy Weight Management – Nuts are high in calories but are excellent sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats which help manage weight and curb appetite. When researchers put overweight adults on a diet with nuts compared to those without, they lost more weight and kept it off longer. This study is published in the International Journal of Obesity and Realted Metabolic Disorders.

Reduce Risk of Diabetes and Cancers – Studies show that people who eat more nuts have less risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes syndromes. Adults who added two ounces of pistachios a day to their diet improved their insulin response according to a study from Spain in 2014. Studies also show that a handful of nuts a day can lower cancer risk by 15 percent, this may be caused by the high level of antioxidants in nuts that help improve cell health.

Taste and enjoyment Nuts are rich in flavor and texture. They are satiating from their high fat content and help keep you full longer than many other foods. Snacking on a handful of nuts can also help satisfy the craving for crunch and salt as well as being nutritious.

Are all nuts created equal? No they are not which is why it’s a great idea to have a variation of nuts in your diet. Choose a variety to maximize the health properties. Avoid nut varieties that are coated in sugar or salt. Nuts are calorically rich so portion control is important. One to two ounces most days of the week is recommended. Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be beneficial especially if replacing refined processed foods and carbohydrates.

by Tami Raco, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach