Snacking on Nuts
The research is in: nuts are great for you! Scientists have found a correlation between eating nuts and a decrease in risk for cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. They have also found that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner than those who do not. How is this true?
According to a Harvard University study, eating cashews and almonds have shown to reduce risk of heart disease. These nuts are composed of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have heart-protective properties. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids found within nuts decrease tricyceride levels, and in doing so, decrease blood pressure. High blood pressure could increase risk of having high cholesterol and other heart diseases. (3)
Nuts have also been linked to brain health. Peanuts, although a legume and not a nut, have shown to improve neural health, which also prevents cognition decline that happens naturally with age. Peanuts have been found to contain high levels of B-vitamin folate and vitamin E, both of which aid in brain health.
A study examining 31 people saw a 1.4 pound decline in weight when people began snacking on nuts. So you may be wondering, how does eating a nut help in weight loss? Nuts are high in protein and fiber. The proteins within nuts make you feel fuller longer. By replacing nuts with other high-calorie snacks, you are not only not gaining the calories, but also filling up between meals. The high-fiber makes the metabolism of nuts extremely slow, and they sometimes pass through your body without being fully broken down.
Now that you know that benefits of nuts, you may be wondering which nuts are the best for you. By comparing the calorie count, nutrient content, and overall benefits, Daily Mail has come up with 3 nuts that are the best for you: pistachios, almonds and cashews. (2)
With only 160 calories per 1 oz, pistachios are rich in antioxidants and potassium. Potassium is used almost everywhere throughout your body, but especially within your nervous system by aiding in neural signaling. They have also found that it helps people with Type 2 Diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
A Pennsylvania State University study showed that almonds daily proved to reduce bad cholesterol. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which we now know improves brain health, but also improves the condition and appearance of skin. Finally, the high calcium levels promote bone health.
Cashews for a good immune system? This nut is high in copper, which is essential in nerve, bone and immune functions. A study conducted at Harvard University showed that eating an ounce of cashews a week gave women a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones, which is caused by high cholesterol levels.
Looking for a delicious way to incorporate these nuts into your next meal? Check our these EatSmarter! favorites:
- Turkey Skewers on Spinach and Rice (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/turkey-skewers-on-spinach-and-rice)
- Creamy Fruit Curd (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/quark-with-dried-fruit)
- Grilled Green Asparagus (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/grilled-asparagus)
- Pistachios and Coconut Macaroons (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/pistachio-coconut-macaroons)
- Thai Cucumber Salad (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/thai-cucumber-salad)
- Duck Breast on Glass Noodle Salad (http://eatsmarter.com/recipes/duck-breast-and-glass-noodle-salad-0)
- Brody, Jane E. “Snacking Your Way to Better Health.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 09 Dec 2013. Web.
- Carey, Tanith. “Why Nuts Really Are the Super Snack - and Which Type You Should Be Eating.” Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 22 July 2015. Web.
- Melnick, Meredith. “Healthy Nuts: Health Benefits For Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Peanuts and More.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 06 May 2013. Web.