Healthy Benefits of Nuts

Nuts are Energy

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Nuts Are Energy-Dense Foods. Nuts are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and phytoesterols – all of which have great health benefits for the prevention of cardiac disease and diabetes type 2. A study in 2014 by Jackson and Hu actually suggest eating handful of nuts each day to replace less healthy snacks, like junkfood and sodas, because they are much healthier. [1]

Nuts have come under criticism by some because of high fat content, but research has shown that the fats they contain can be considered as “good fats” – which do not cause weight gain because their high calorie intake is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body into energy.

Note that peanuts are not “true” nuts and often considered less healthy. True nuts grow on trees whereas peanuts grow in the soil; according to Salas-Salvado (2014), tree nuts have been found to be cardioprotective – they regulate inflammation, reduce postprandial blood glucose and improve insulin resistance. [3]

  • Pistachio Pistachios have been reported to have preventative and treatment effects on diabetes, primarily because of their richness in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, substances which reduce blood sugar (blood glucose) levels and improve the body’s metabolism. [4] Another study revealed how pistachios were able to significantly lower LDL levels and increase functional HDL particles (a.k.a. “good cholesterol”). [5]
  • Macadamia Popularly eaten together with chocolate, macadamia nut studies have revealed its potential medicinal effect improving the lipid profile of humans. A study in 2014 was performed on rats, wherein macadamia oil was supplemented along with a high fat diet. The use of macadamia was able to reduce inflammation and adipocyte hypertrophy in obese mice. [6]
  • Cashew A recent study in the first quarter of 2015 revealed cashew nuts’ antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects through an in vitro study. Ethanol extracts from cashew leaves were used for oral care in the study and proved to be more effective than traditional mouth rinses/washes. The extract was also used on cultures of gingival and lung fibroblasts, which revealed cashew’s cytotoxic property. [7]
  • Almond According to Ruisinger, et. al. (2015), almonds are able to significantly lower low density lipoprotein (a.k.a LDL or “bad cholesterol”) and trigylcerides when added to statin therapy. Not that we are necessarily fans of statin therapy. Nonetheless, lower LDLs have been equated to improved cardiovascular health. [8]

Brazil nuts Sourced from a South American tree, Brazil nuts have potent anti-inflammatory properties, seen in a study in 2014. Single doses of Brazil nuts in varying portions were given to volunteers followed by blood samples being taken. The study showed that the nuts were able to decrease inflammatory markers, specifically IL-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma. [9]

These different kinds of nuts have great medicinal value, which can improve a person’s health if they are included in the daily diet. Nuts that have anti-inflammatory properties can be used for a variety of diseases such as problems with the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal systems. Those that have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties can be used to manage infections. Can you imagine all these benefits can come from a single handful of nuts?

References:

[1] Jackson, C. & Hu, F. (2014). Long-term associations of nut consumption with body weight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898229

[2] Vaidvel, V., Kunyanga, C, and Biesalski, H. (2012). Health benefits of nut consumption with special reference to body weight

[3] Salas-Salvado, J. (2014). Tree nuts: effects on health, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25617532

[4] Parham, M., et. al. (2014). Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25396407

[5] Holligan, S., et. al. (2014). A moderate-fat diet containing pistachios improves emerging markers of cardiometabolic syndrome in healthy