Nuts have gotten a bad rap over the years. Multiple studies have found that nuts should NOT be blamed for excessive weight gain. The fat in nuts is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is heart-healthy, like the kind found in olive oil. According to researchers, nut lovers have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But hold on!

Nuts have also been associated with a lower incidence of cancer death, so just a mere 1 to 2 ounces a few times a week might be just what the doctor ordered.

Nuts are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium and vitamin E, which all do a body good, especially if you’re over 50. Researchers have also concluded that nut eaters live longer because the food can prevent several chronic ailments.

Some non-believers are stuck on eating nuts as unhealthy because they will cause weight gain. Here are some nut Mythbusters:

  • Nuts will help you feel full. All nuts contain fiber, which makes you feel full. This can help you eat less and thus prevent weight gain. Including fiber in your diet is also a preventive measure against diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol levels, risk factors for heart disease.
  • Most of the calorie content in nuts winds up unabsorbed/undigested and in the toilet bowl.
  • Scientists have proven that nuts increase our basic metabolism, allowing us to burn more calories.

Incorporate nuts into your diet; here are a few you can try:

  • Almonds—high in plant sterols; helps to improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure in folks who are overweight; high in fiber and vitamin E as well, an antioxidant that helps combat illnesses like lung cancer and age-related cognitive decline; eating almonds with a meal may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes; they also help with a few gastrointestinal issues; eat an ounce a day
  • Pistachios—high in fiber; eating two to three ounces a day may improve cholesterol, risk factors for heart disease, blood pressure levels, and reduce blood sugar after eating a meal; researchers at Harvard University found that eating a daily handful of pistachios may boost health and longevity
  • Walnuts—high in heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid; improves several risk factors for heart disease; reduces inflammation in the body that contributes to chronic conditions; improves cognition (comprehension); eat eight walnuts a day
  • Pecans—loaded with beta-sitosterol, a plant steroid that helps to relieve symptoms of an enlarged prostate; contains vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and zinc, which play a role in reducing diseases from cancer, heart disease to Alzheimer’s and vision loss; eat an ounce a day (18 to 20 halves)
  • Peanuts—these are technically legumes; the majority of fats in peanuts are heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol; they are high in folate (brain development) and vitamin E; they are an excellent source of biotin, which is beneficial for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and some brain conditions; contains antioxidants, and this lowers cancer, stroke, and gallstones risk; eat one to two ounces a day
  • Hazelnuts—chock-full of Vitamin E and magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate the calcium levels in muscles and maintain the skeletal system; great for post-menopausal women who are deficient in magnesium; high in B vitamins galore–B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B9 (folic acid), all building blocks to help combat anemia; eat an ounce a day