Some of you may be aware that nuts are usually high in fats. So should you then still be snacking on those nuts or incorporate them into your diet? Most defi-nut-ly!
The fats contained in nuts are not the ones that will cause a double chin or your weight to skyrocket. On the contrary, these are the good guys — these fats are the healthy, essential ones that your body requires. Nuts are also an excellent source of fibre and protein, and studies have shown them to provide plenty of health benefits, which include reducing heart disease risk factors.
5 Benefits of Nuts
The numerous health benefits of nuts derive from the chock-full of minerals, vitamins and organic compounds found in them. Apart from its antioxidant properties, nuts are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, dietary fibre, L-arginine, as well as minerals, including potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc, among others.
1. Prevents Cancer
One of the unique characteristics of nuts is their high content of healthy fats. These are the essential fats that the body needs to properly function, and nuts provide you with a delightful source of these polyunsaturated fats many of us know as omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, the nature of these fatty acids is such that it contains certain anti-inflammatory properties that have been ascertained to reduce the chances of prostate, colon and breast cancers.
2. Promotes Heart Health
The most eminent quality of nuts, with regards to overall health, is perhaps its influence on the cardiovascular system. Firstly, nuts contain considerable amounts of HDL cholesterol, or what we common people refer to as ‘good cholesterol’. This good cholesterol reduces the presence of its dangerous counterpart — the LDL cholesterol — in your system, by preventing the LDL cholesterol from binding onto your artery walls and blood vessels. This process minimises the chances of blood clots and atherosclerosis from dealing major damage to your cardiovascular system. Secondly, nuts contain a vital amino acid component — the L-arginine — which eases blood vessels and relaxes any chronic contractions or constrictions. A more relaxed blood vessel warrants more blood flow and decreases the stress level of the body’s entire system, which translates into lower blood pressure. Additionally, internal blood clots are less likely to affect your system, when blood vessels are relaxed and their flow swift. Nuts also provide a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoid components, including resveratrol, which widens the blood vessels and stimulates the release of nitric oxide. Recent studies have indicated that moderate consumption of nuts is ideal in reducing risks of heart attack, atrial fibrillation (rapid increase in heart rate) and heart failure. Nuts are often associated with the Mediterranean diet, and the cultures encompassing the Mediterranean have a distinctly low levels of cardiovascular disease.
3. Promotes Weight Loss
The dietary fibre present in nuts hinders the release of the hunger hormone called ghrelin, which keeps you feeling satisfied over longer periods of time and prevents one from overeating or binging. It is this trait that makes nuts a prized asset in weight loss regimens. In addition, the high level of dietary fibre in nuts stimulates good digestion and bowel movements, reducing the probability of contracting certain types of gastrointestinal cancers. Apart from the fibre, nuts are loaded with other beneficial nutrients and vitamins, and are low in calories. So, including them in moderation in your diet may actually help heighten palatability and increase nutritional value, without posing a threat for weight gain.
4. Promotes Hydration
Certain nuts contain high levels of potassium and are extremely beneficial to cellular fluid and water balance in your bodily cells. This aids the body in staying hydrated and functioning optimally. Potassium also operates as a vasodilator to further reduce blood pressure and guard the heart from various conditions.
5. Prevents Anaemia
Nuts are rich in copper and iron, both of which are imperative minerals that are required for the proper functioning and creation of red blood cells. These two compounds work hand-in-hand to mitigate symptoms of anaemia. Anaemia is a condition where your body is faced with an extreme deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, copper and folic acid. Fussy eaters or those with an unbalanced diet are typically the ones who are prone to be diagnosed with anaemia, which may lead to stomach issues, fatigue, as well as sleep disorders.
The Bottom Line
Nuts are tremendously beneficial in any diet, as they contain a plethora of health benefits — promoting heart health, improving the immune system, balancing cholesterol levels, aiding weight loss, minimising blood pressure and clots, preventing cancer and increasing red blood cell count, among others.
Nuts are definitely one of the best foods available out there that improves heart health and helps curb potential cardiovascular issues. They are extremely valuable in boosting your overall health — as long as you do not sprinkle them with salt or dip them in chocolate!