The health benefits of nuts

Nuts are very popular as they’re tasty, convenient and can be enjoyed on all kinds of diets. Despite being high in fat and calories, they’ve got a number of impressive health and weight benefits. What are the most commonly consumed nuts? And what are the health benefits? Let’s go take a look at them!

Most commonly consumed nuts:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

1. Many nutrients

Nuts are highly nutritious as one ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts contains:

  • Calories: 173
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 16% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
  • Copper: 23% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 56% of the RDI

2. Loaded with antioxidants

They can combat oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals (unstable molecules that may cause cell damage and increase disease risk). Walnuts have a greater capacity to fight this than fish. On, and if we add almonds to the mix, both can protect the delicate fats in your cells and increase your polyphenol levels. And while eating whole pecans, there’s a 26-33% drop in their levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol (which is a major risk factor for heart disease).

3. Aid weight loss

Before I mention this: don’t use nuts only to lose weight. They may help you, as research suggests, but you should never eat only nuts as a diet. That being said, people eating nuts lost an average of 2 inches (5 cm) from their waists. Almonds are shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in certain studies. But, pistachios do this too. Sure, nuts are quite high in calories, but research shows that your body doesn’t absorb all of them. A portion of fat stays trapped within the nut’s fibrous wall during digestion.

Nuts in Round White Bowl

4. Lower cholesterol and triglycerides

We already discussed the first one a little bit, but the other one is new. Pistachios have been shown to lower triglycerides in people who are obese and those who suffer from diabetes. As for the cholesterol-lowering power of nuts, that may be due to their high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Almonds and hazelnuts seem to raise HDL cholesterol while reducing the LDL variant. Macadamia nuts lower cholesterol levels as well.

5. Beneficial for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

The last one refers to a group of risk factors that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. So, nuts are low in carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels much. So, substituting nuts for higher-carb foods should lead to reduced blood sugar levels. Studies say that nuts also lower oxidative stress, blood pressure and other health markers in people with diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

6. Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s way of defending itself from injury, bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens. However, chronic, long-term inflammation can cause damage to organs and increase disease risk. So, research says that nuts may reduce this and promote healthy aging. Some nuts (including pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds) have been found to fight inflammation in healthy people and those with serious conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.

7. High in beneficial fiber

Your body can’t digest fiber, but the bacteria that live in your colon can. Many types of fiber function as prebiotics or food for your healthy gut bacteria. These then ferment the fiber and turn it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids. So, they have powerful benefits, including improving gut health and reducing risk of diabetes and obesity. It also helps you to feel full and it reduces the number of calories you absorb from meals. Let’s take a look at the nuts with the highest fiber content per 1-ounce (28 gram) serving:

  • Almonds: 3.5 grams
  • Pistachios: 2.9 grams
  • Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams
  • Pecans: 2.9 grams
  • Peanuts: 2.6 grams
  • Macadamias: 2.4 grams
  • Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams
White Yellow and Brown Peanut on Clear Glass Basin

8. Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke

Studies say that nuts help lower heart disease and stroke risk due to their benefits for cholesterol levels LDL particle size, artery function and inflammation. It increases LDL particle size, raises HDL cholesterol, improves artery function, lowers fasting triglycerides and other various benefits.

Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❀

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