If people just took the time to stop and think about the health benefits of nuts, they would actually go nuts for them. Why? Because this seemingly small and inconsequential food source comes to you raw and ready to eat yet naturally high in calories and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In fact nut nutrition is some of the best nutrition you can introduce into your everyday diet.
Scientists have been looking very closely at nuts and have discovered that just on their own, raw and unsalted nuts are quite simply one of the best food sources - right up there with daily portions of fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only are they nutritious, they are also high in calories and in fat. Now while with most food sources we would want to shy away from fat – especially animal fat such as meats and dairy products - nuts have a type of fat that is not bad for the heart – in fact they are the opposite; nuts are good for the heart.
Great for your heart
Nuts have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which, unlike animal and dairy fats actually help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the type that builds up on the walls of your arteries in the form a plaque – rather like the plaque you get on your teeth throughout the day. The difference is, you can’t brush your arteries the way you can your teeth. Narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels leads to high blood pressure, whereas with a daily diet of nuts, high blood pressure can be reduced. This in turn reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Did you know that nuts can help stave off the effects of diabetes? Diabetics have higher triglyceride levels, which nuts can help to reduce. Nuts also act to stabilize blood sugar levels due to the fact they contain a hormone known as adiponectin. This hormone encourages your blood cells to absorb more sugar from the bloodstream thus preventing it from becoming too high.
Great for weight Loss
This may sound strange considering nuts are packed with calories and fat, but nuts can help you to lose weight as part of a calorie controlled diet. They are a filling and nutritious food source and therefore help you to feel fuller for longer by eating less quantities than less efficient food sources.
You can avoid the saturated fats of red meat simply by replacing nuts in the diet with a variety of tasty high protein recipes. Nuts provide great levels of protein and calcium.
Excellent source of fiber
Nuts are naturally high in fiber and therefore help to cleanse your overworked dietary tract. Try 100 grams a day of just about any nuts you want and notice the difference. Not only will you become more regular, you will also feel a new surge of energy.
When there are too many toxins in the body the cells begin to divide themselves and weaken the immune system. Nuts are rich in antioxidants which can cleanse the body of toxins, thereby enabling cells to stay healthy.
Again, due to the toxins in our body and metals that can permeate the blood flow to the brain, memory function can become affected, Scientists still don’t know why some people get more affected with memory malfunction than others, but once again, the antioxidants found in nuts can cleanse the body of toxins and unhealthy metals so that you can improve your memory and focus more clearly.
Good for the prostate
If you are pushing 50 and you have noticed that your urine flow is not what it once was, that’s a sign of a swollen prostate. Once again, it’s time to turn to nuts. Nuts include a substance known as boron which can help reduce the swelling of the prostate. Various nuts and seeds have been effectively used for centuries to aid prostate problems.
We have talked about unsaturated fats, and nut fat is unsaturated so it’s lighter on the arteries and doesn’t create fatty deposits.
This naturally occurring good fat source in turn lowers cholesterol in two ways; by helping to cleanse the body and by reducing pressure caused by fat build up on the arteries.
Energy releasing food
Magnesium provides our body with a source of slow burning energy. Nuts and good nut recipes can help to process energy which in turn helps with muscle and nerve function.
No one is pretending that nuts are the be all and end all of any keep fit program, but they are a great food source when eaten by themselves, or when tossed into salads, smoothies and with a range of delicious oriental dishes. Give nuts a try.
John Grant is a printed writer on many subjects relating to the importance of balanced diets and backpacking around the world. He also writes on the nutritional importance of many natural foods available as he travels around Asia such as nuts.