by Matt Weik
Nuts are a healthy snack. Yet, people continue to forget about these little gems for some reason. They are one of the best and the most nutritious snacks you can have. If you’re planning to eat nuts, make sure to go for raw, unsalted ones. Eliminate all the rumors against eating nuts where people say they contain fat and they shouldn’t be consumed and enjoy its health benefits by keeping them in your daily nutrition plan.
Most people think that due to the fat content found in nuts, that they’ll promote weight gain. This is not true. Studies show that eating nuts every day is linked to a lower risk of obesity and improved weight control. Nuts are ideal snacks for weight loss programs so long as they can fit within your daily nutritional and caloric constraints.
Here’s Why You Should Go Nuts for… Nuts!
Next time you crave some snacks, do not go for the unhealthy oily options. Instead, go for nuts, as they are one of the healthiest snacks you can munch on. And let’s be honest… they can be quite tasty too!
1. Walnuts are a great source of antioxidants and can fight inflammation
Walnuts have been shown to have the highest amount of antioxidants among all nuts, which help protect against oxidative stress in the body. Walnuts contain an array of phytochemicals such as melatonin and quinone juglone (Juglans regia) that may help prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Walnuts also contain powerful anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (the plant version is called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). Omega-3s can decrease inflammation in your body and reduce your risk for chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and brain disorders like depression.
2. Nuts help you to lose weight
Many people enjoy snacking on nuts because they’re tasty and may help you feel satisfied between meals. Nuts tend to be high in protein and fiber, both of which may help you feel full for longer, so you’re less likely to overeat later. What’s more, nuts may promote weight loss by boosting your metabolic rate.
3. May lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides
Nuts can have a good impact on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Pistachios have been shown to reduce triglycerides in people suffering from obesity and diabetes.
In a 12-week research with obese people, those consuming pistachios had around 33% lower triglyceride levels than in the control group.
The cholesterol-lowering power of nuts may be because of their high content of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Hazelnuts and almonds appear to increase “good” HDL cholesterol while decreasing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol. According to a study, it was found that sliced, ground, and whole hazelnuts had the same beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.
4. Nuts can help fight heart disease
Heart disease is the number-one cause of death for men and women in the United States. Several studies have shown that eating nuts can lower your risk of developing heart disease by reducing blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol). In fact, research has shown that people who regularly eat nuts live longer than those who don’t.
5. Nuts are high in beneficial fiber
Nuts are also a good source of fiber, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve digestion. The fiber found in almonds can also help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids by keeping stool soft and adding bulk to bowel movements.
Fiber provides a lot of health benefits. Our body cannot digest fiber, but the bacteria that live in our colon can. Many types of fiber work as prebiotics or food for your healthy gut bacteria.
The gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and transform it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids.
These short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have important benefits, which include improving gut health and decreasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Besides, fiber helps you feel fuller and reduces the number of calories you absorb from foods.
Here is the list of nuts with the highest fiber content per 28-gram (1-ounce) serving:
- Pistachios: 2.9 grams
- Almonds: 3.5 grams
- Pecans: 2.9 grams
- Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
- Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams
- Macadamias: 2.4 grams
- Peanuts: 2.6 grams
6. Nuts can be delicious and versatile
Nuts make a great snack or addition to meals. You can eat them raw or add them to salads and cooked dishes. Nuts can also be used as toppings for desserts, yogurt, or cereal.
7. Great source of protein
Nuts are included in the food group called protein foods. Most nuts contain at least some protein. For example:
- Almonds: 6 grams of protein per ounce (or 23 almonds)
- Cashews: 5 grams of protein per ounce (or 18 cashews)
- Pistachios: 6 grams of protein per ounce (or 49 pistachios)
- Walnuts: 4 grams of protein per ounce (or 14 walnut halves)