10 Nuts with amazing health benefits
Although nuts sometimes get a bad press because of their high calorie content, they still pack an impressive nutritional punch and, eaten in small amounts, they are one of the healthiest snacks that you can find. Regular consumption of nuts can lower cholesterol, fight disease, and keep your digestive system in good working order. Nuts are so good for you that, in one study that was published in Journal of Medicine, researchers suggested that eating a handful of nuts a day could extend your life. Read on, and we’ll explain which of the nuts are best for your health and what benefits each one provides.
1. Cashew nuts
Although cashew nuts are relatively low in fibre, compared to other nuts, they are high in unsaturated fats and they provide an excellent source of vitamins minerals and antioxidants. They contain less fat than most other nuts and one serving will provide you with nearly 100% of your daily recommended amount of copper, which is used in a wide range of the body’s physiological processes.
2. Pecan nuts
Pecans are ranked in the top twenty foods for antioxidants and they also provide more than ninety different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and E, zinc, potassium and calcium. Pecans are also a great source of oleic acid, which some research has suggested may be able to suppress the gene that causes breast cancer.
3. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts may not be as good for your heart as some nuts, because of their relatively high fat content, but they do contain a lot of the antioxidant selenium, which is believed to have potent anti-cancer properties and may play an important role in keeping the immune system working properly. One serving of Brazil nuts provides you with eight times your daily recommended amount of selenium, so just a few Brazils, mixed with other nuts, would provide you with enough.
Although they are not actually nuts, they belong to the legume family, everyone does think of peanuts as nuts, so we have included them here. You should avoid the heavily salted peanuts, but unsalted, they will provide you with plenty of fibre, protein and magnesium. Magnesium is particularly good for cardiovascular health and studies have indicated that people who eat magnesium rich diets do suffer from fewer strokes.
5. Pistachio nuts
Pistachios are lower than most nuts in both calories and fat content, but they have been shown to be beneficial in terms of heart health and weight management. They are a good source vitamins and minerals, including copper, manganese and Vitamin B6. Even the fact that you have to take the shells off pistachios is good news for your health, because it means that you eat them slower and you can keep track of how many you’ve had.
Walnuts often make it onto the lists of superfoods and, one of the reasons for that are the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that they contain. Eating walnuts could lower your cholesterol levels and improve the health of your heart. They are also a good source of fibre and the minerals phosphorous and magnesium. One study also found that women who ate walnuts regularly had a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Almonds are an amazing source of the mineral calcium as well as magnesium, copper, and Vitamin E. Almonds make a great low calorie snack and they provide you with plenty of energy which makes them ideal to eat when you are trying to lose weight. Another amazing property of almonds is that they have the ability to control insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes.
8. Cedar nuts
Cedar nuts, which originate in Russia, will provide you with 70% of the essential amino acids that you need for your body to function properly and they also contain high amounts of vitamins A, B and D. What makes cedar nuts so special, though, is that they contain a fatty acid that is very similar in composition to fish oil, which is known to be able to reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body.
9. Hazel nuts
Hazel nuts are another one of the nut family that have been found to have the ability to lower cholesterol in the body and, like many other nuts, they are good source vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, magnesium, copper, and Vitamin E. Hazelnuts are also high in plant compounds called proanthocyanidins, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The best way to get the most of nuts is to eat a handful of mixed nuts every day. Each nut has its own special benefits, but they are all powerhouses of nutrition. In the case of Macadamias, their particular claim to fame is the healthy monounsaturated fats that they contain, as well as their high levels thiamine and manganese. Nuts deliver many of the nutrients that are often missing in the modern diet, so they are definitely well worth adding to your next shopping list.
Stay happy and healthy!