6 Reasons to Go Nuts

6 Reasons to Go Nuts

Grabbing a handful of nuts could be the perfect snack that enhances your health and replaces other, not so healthy, choices. Misconceptions about nuts were a concern in the 1990’s when everyone was on a non-fat kick. It was felt that the fat content of nuts would add to American waist sizes when they were really expanding due to processed foods such as those labeled non-fat. People would rather have eaten 10 non-fat, processed muffins than a handful of almonds or cashews.

However, most processed foods are simple carbohydrates which means they are quickly broken down into sugars. Often, when the body is presented with these simple sugars it will store them as fat until they can be burned off. The problem is that a processed food eating cycle could overcome your exercise cycle therefore storing more fat than you need. These 6 reasons to go nuts may prove a better choice.

Good Complex Nutrition

Eating complex carbohydrates, like nuts, enables for slower absorption and more nutrition. This means that your desire to eat, your satiety level, could be considerably suppressed when you eat complex carbs. Less appetite means less fat and more vitamin and mineral absorption.

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine confirms complex carb choices,

“They are often rich in fiber, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.”

Brain Turbo 

When you want to focus, walnuts may be your go-to. Walnuts, which some say look like brains, are an excellent addition to anyone’s day and for good reason.

The 2012 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that when walnuts were added to a Mediterranean diet increase in memory, focus and recall was detected. It is believed the high antioxidants found in walnuts may slow cognitive decline and strengthen nerve connections. This includes those weakened by Alzheimer’s which involves degeneration of neurons.

Cardioprotective

All sorts of nuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods that pack a long list of vitamins and minerals. These are nutrients that so many, maybe even you, take in supplement form when all you may need is a handful of almonds, cashews, peanuts or pistachios per day.

Published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Loma Linda University, Department of Nutrition, CA pinpointed not only the beneficial effects of nuts on the heart but also some of the specific compounds that are involved.

The study states:

“Nuts have a unique fatty acid profile and feature a high unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio, an important contributing factor to the beneficial health effects of nut consumption. Additional cardioprotective nutrients found in nuts include:

  • vegetable protein
  • fiber, alpha-tocopherol
  • folic acid
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • phytosterol
  • other phytochemicals”

Another study published in the May 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) consisted of combined research that included scientists from Harvard University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Its conclusion to ‘Prospective evaluation of the association of nut/peanut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality’ stated,

“Nut consumption was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across different ethnic groups and among individuals from low SES [socioeconomic status] groups. Consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.”

Stop a Nut Allergy

That’s right, it was found that women who ate nuts five times or more per month reared children that were not allergic. Concluded in the New England Journal of Medicine (2/26/15 Vol 372 No 9) it was stated that,

“The early introduction of peanuts significantly decreased the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy and modulated immune responses to peanuts.”

It is always best to talk with your doctor before any changes in your diet while you are pregnant.

Protein Boost, Maintain Weight

Nuts are loaded with protein which is essential for a multitude of systemic functions that includes muscle strength, increased bone density, lower blood pressure and injury repair. However, one of the most advantageous benefits of protein is the ability for reducing appetite cravings, boosting metabolism, increasing fat burning and maintaining a healthy weight.

3 ounces of meat contains approximately 22 grams of protein. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the amount of protein in 1 cup of these nuts are:

  • Almonds     20g
  • Cashews     60g
  • Walnuts      12g
  • Pistachio     20g
  • Pecans         9g
  • Macadamia 11g
  • Pine nuts     18gT

These protein numbers are one reason that reasonable consumption of nuts enhances protein applications but does not threaten weight gain.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cites another study by researchers from the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, CA which reports,

“The available data demonstrate that nut consumption among free-living individuals is not associated with higher BMI compared with non-nut consumers despite the fact that nuts are fat- and energy-dense foods.”

The 6 reasons to go nuts shows a few of the many benefits of adding nuts to your diet. Stick to raw choices as opposed to roasted and/or salted which decrease the positive effects of nuts.



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