Nuts have gotten a bad rep over the years. One meta-analysis of 33 studies found that nuts should not be blamed for excessive weight gain. The fat in nuts is a healthy monounsaturated fat and which is heart-healthy, the kind that is found in olive oil. There have been studies conducted on folks who consume nuts and according to researchers, those who indulge have not only a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes but heart disease as well. 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 is 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. Clinicians have also concluded that nut eaters tend to live longer than those who don’t because the food can prevent quite a few chronic ailments.
There are still some non-believers who are stuck on the fact that eating nuts are unhealthy because they will cause weight gain. Here are some nut myth busters:
- Nuts will help you feel full. Eating nuts will help you consume less total calories for the day compared to those times when you don’t eat them. Crunching on something like nuts sends a satiety message to your brain than when you eat something soft.
- 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 thereby allowing us to burn more calories.
Incorporate nuts into your diet, here are a few you should 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 diabetics; 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 a number of risk factors for heart disease; reduces inflammation in the body that contributes to chronic diseases; 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 but are referred to as nuts, high in folate (brain development) and vitamin E; 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 and stroke risk, as well as gallstones; 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