Nuts are nutrient-dense foods that are very versatile. Nuts are easy to store, taste good, and make a great snack as they are easy to transport because you can take them anywhere with you on the go.
But are nuts good for you? Or are they loaded with fats? Should you limit your consumption of nuts? Or do they just have a bad reputation?
This post explores the health benefits of nuts; warning your view of nuts may change forever.
An in-depth look at nuts
Nuts are nutrient and energy-dense foods high in many essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs for many of its functions.
A small serving of nuts is enough to boost your immune system. They are high in unsaturated fatty compounds and high in protein, fiber, and minerals.
The fiber in nuts can make you feel full. Nuts are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Some nuts are a good source of L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body build protein.
You may have heard of L-arginine before, as it is also a vital ingredient of many anti-aging supplements. Nuts can also improve the health of your artery walls, which makes them more flexible and less likely to form blood clots (which can inhibit blood flow).
It only takes 1 ounce of Brazil nuts to obtain over 700% of your daily value of selenium.
Peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes.
Peanuts can be highly allergic, and contact with it may result in death for those with extreme sensitivities.
Nut allergies are on the rise.
The covering shell of the cashew nut contains urushiol in its raw, unprocessed state and can cause sickness.
2/3 of all nut consumption comes from peanuts (a large market for peanut butter).
Approximately 540 peanuts can make up a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
The average American adult eats a PB&J approximately three times a month.
Almonds can promote good gut bacteria.
The US is the world´s largest producer of almonds.
Walnuts have the highest amount of Omega-3.
Macadamia can be toxic to dogs.
Health benefits of nuts
Nuts offer numerous health benefits such as:
- can reduce your chances of having coronary heart disease
- can improve your heart health
- can reduce incidences of hypertension, gallstones, and cancer
- can provide the cholesterol-lowering effect
- can improve oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity
- can positively influence your blood pressure
- may help you maintain a healthy weight
- can help control sugar levels in your body
- may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- can cause improvements in the health of people suffering from type 2 diabetes
- can improve brain health
- can improve your bone health
- can increase semen production
- can improve your nutrient intake
- can prolong your life
Some important nuts
(Native to Central Asia & The Middle East)
Pistachios are a moderate source of calcium, riboflavin, vitamins B5, E, K, and folate, among other nutrients. Regular consumption of pistachios in normal amounts does not lead to an increase in weight gain or obesity.
Pistachios have a lower fat and caloric content. There are many health benefits to eating pistachios, such as:
- may lower your risk of heart disease
- can improve your health
- contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- may offer glycemic control
(Originally from Iran but now native to the US)
Walnuts have a reputation for promoting cognitive and brain health. Walnuts also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They may improve cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Clinical studies in humans suggest that eating a few walnuts regularly can reduce oxidative stress. As this can help decrease the formation of free radicals and boost antioxidant defense.
(Native to South America, but not necessarily Brazil as its name suggests)
Brazil nuts are some of the richest selenium food sources. It´s also a source of magnesium, copper, and zinc. It enhances the antioxidant system and can improve the anti-inflammatory response.
According to the NIH, in some studies, patients undergoing hemodialysis (kidney dialysis) were given one Brazil nut a day as a supplement for three months. At the end of the study, the conclusion was that the consumption of only 1 Brazil nut as a supplement taken daily, was enough to reduce inflammation.
(Native to Brazil)
Cashews are easy to add to a diet. Just a handful of cashews consumed regularly can boost your health in many ways, such as:
- can reduce your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- can reduce insulin levels
- can keep your weight constant
- contains copper, which can improve bone health
(Native to Australia)
Macadamia offers many nutrients like manganese, vitamin B, B6, thiamine, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
- can improve digestion
- can control blood sugar levels
- can keep your weight constant
- are full of flavonoids and antioxidants, that protect your body against cellular damage and disease
- may reduce hunger
- can promote good gut bacteria
Macadamia is considered toxic to dogs. If a dog consumes this nut, within 12 hours of ingestion; symptoms such as paralysis or inability to stand can be witnessed.
(Native to The Middle East)
Almonds are full of antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage and is a key component of anti-aging and disease-fighting properties.
Marzipan, a smooth sweetened almond paste, is derived from almonds. Other popular almond derivatives are almond milk and butter. Almonds are high in vitamin E and contain magnesium along with other nutrients.
Other benefits include:
- can lower blood pressure levels
- can assist in blood sugar control
- can lower LDL cholesterol levels
(Native to Asia Minor, however, Turkey is the leading provider today)
Hazelnuts are rich in proteins, monosaturated fat, vitamin E, manganese, and other essential nutrients. Hazelnuts are often used in baking and desserts.
- be a good source of fiber
- can support healthy bowel movements
- can protect against cell damage
- can lower cholesterol
- can reduce inflammation
- can improve sperm count
(Native to Southern USA)
Pecans are a good source of calcium, magnesium, fiber, zinc, vitamin E, and potassium. Pecans are famously used in pecan pies.
- can help ease arthritis pain by reducing inflammation
- can help your body fight off infections
- can promote healthy skin, eyes, teeth, bones, muscles, and nerves
- can repair cellular damage
There are almost a hundred types of nuts worldwide and they all have additional nutrients.
Nuts are a superfood, rich in many nutrients that your body needs. Regular consumption of nuts is not likely to contribute to obesity and may even help in weight loss.
A small serving of an assortment of nuts as close to their natural state as possible (without added salt or sugar) can be very beneficial to your health.
Nuts can reduce your chances of having chronic diseases and can improve the health condition of people with diseases like type 2 diabetes.
However, a small percentage of the population can be allergic to nuts (especially peanuts). In rare cases, exposure to nuts can even cause death.
The benefits of eating a small amount of different unsalted/unsweetened nuts regularly can vastly improve many areas of your health. Think about replacing unhealthy snacking habits (potato chips and candy bars) with healthier ones like nuts.
Elevate your health by boosting it with regular small servings of health nut assortment today!
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