Nuts are one of the most popular foods in the whole world. This is because the are very convenient, tasty and make a great addition to any diet. Although they are high in fat, their health benefits are undeniably impressive.
What are Nuts?
Nuts are actually considered a fruit, but unlike other fruits, they are very high in fat and not sweet at all. Nuts have a hard outer shell that usually needs to be cracked first before finding the meat inside. The good news is there are many pre-shelled nuts in the market that you don’t need to crack yourself. Some of the most common nuts we eat are:
- Pine Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
Technically, peanuts are classified as legumes (like beans and peas), but people often refer to them as nuts because they have similar characteristics and properties.
Health Benefits of Nuts
Here are the 8 best health benefits of nuts:
1. Great Source of Nutrients. Nuts are rich in many nutrients. An ounce of mixed nuts can contain:
Carbs: 6 grams
Magnesium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 23% of the RDI
Manganese: 26% of the RDI
Selenium: 56% of the RDI
Protein: 5 grams
Fat: 16 grams, as well as 9 grams of monounsaturated fat
Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
However, some types of nuts may have a greater amount of nutrients than others. As an example, a single Brazil nut can provide more than 100% of your daily recommended selenium intake. Nuts’ carbohydrate content is also inconsistent. Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts have less than 2g of consumable carbohydrates per serving, whereas cashews have almost 8g.
Having said that, nuts are really an excellent food to eat, especially in a low-carb diet.
2. Rich in Antioxidants. Research shows that nuts are rich in powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help control free radicals, the unsteady molecules that the body produces as normal part of the metabolism process. Research also shows that the antioxidant properties in almonds and walnuts can help protect the fat in cells from the damage caused by oxidation.
3. Helps with Weight Loss. Despite their calorie content, studies suggest that nuts actually help with weight loss.
4. Helps Lower Triglycerides and Cholesterol. Nuts are not just a kind of delicious food. Their effects on the body’s cholesterol and triglycerides levels are also astounding. Nuts help raise “good” cholesterol and reduce “bad” cholesterol in the body.
5. Helps Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Hundreds of millions of people suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. Surprisingly, studies show that nuts help reduce the risk of getting the condition.
6 Helps Reduce Inflammation. Nuts contain resilient anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial in reducing the risk of chronic inflammation. Furthermore, they also help promote healthy aging.
7. Rich in Fiber. Fiber works a lot of miracles for our body, promoting a healthier digestive system. Here are the fiber contents of various nut types per 28g serving:
Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams
Macadamias: 2.4 grams
Pistachios: 2.9 grams
Pecans: 2.9 grams
Peanuts: 2.6 grams
Almonds: 3.5 grams
Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
8. Helps Reduce the Risk of Stroke and Heart Attacks. Nuts are undeniably beneficial for heart health. Some researchers suggest that they can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease because of their ability to help with inflammation, cholesterol levels, artery function and LDL size.
Some Thoughts on Nuts
Normally, the healthiest way to eat nuts is raw or toasted. If you want to toast them yourself, set them at 350°F. Research suggests that it’s best to avoid roasting nuts with vegetable or seed oils.
You can store the nuts at room temperature to keep them ready for on-the-go snacking. They’re perfect for traveling. If you’re planning on storing them for a long period of time, though, it’s best to refrigerate or even freeze them to preserve their freshness.
Although nuts can have a lot of amazing effects on the body, it’s still important to control your intake. As with anything, excessive consumption can have a lot of side effects.
Nuts are unquestionably satisfying and tasty. You can enjoy them whole, as a sandwich filling or a topping on a salad. Whatever you do with them, their health benefits will always have a positive effect on your body.