Top 9 Healthiest Nuts + Benefits of Healthy Nuts

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Benefits of healthy Nuts

 

Nuts have always existed around us and their benefits known to all. However, the prominence that they have gained recently is new. As per the studies conducted by various health organizations and medical fraternities, it has been concluded that nuts are very beneficial for the overall development of the body. They have the ability to keep off a range of illnesses, including chronic inflammation and heart diseases. The myth around nuts adding to the waistline is false. In fact, nuts help keep the weight in check, if consumed in moderation.

Healthy eating has been the norm for the past couple of years and there has been an increased importance given to nuts. There has been found a strong connection between consuming nuts and their health outcomes. Including a handful of nuts each day to your diet is known to cut the risk of cancer by around 15 per cent, heart disease and premature death by 30 and 22 per cent, respectively. These percentages are quite significant when the amount or quantity of nuts consumed is very small.  You are therefore, recommended to include some form of nuts in your diet.

Here are the top 9 healthiest nuts and their health benefits:

  1. Almonds


At the top of the list of the healthiest nuts are almonds. Known to possess more Vitamin E and fiber than other nuts, almonds are a great source for manganese and magnesium. Almonds have the ability to reduce the LDL or “bad” cholesterol due to its antioxidant functions. In fact, they can reduce the total cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary disease to a great extent. Almonds have been rated highly by the Ayurvedic medicine in terms of providing longevity, increasing intellect and brain capacity.

A small handful or an ounce serving of almonds contains the following:

  • Calories:161
  • Carbs:6 grams
  • Vitamin E:37% of the RDI
  • Fiber:5 grams
  • Magnesium:19% of the RDI
  • Protein:6 grams
  • Total fat:14 grams

  1. Cashew Nuts


Cashew nuts have anacardic acid which has the ability to improve the insulin sensitivity. This is why cashew nuts are beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. In addition, cashew nuts, as compared to other nuts have lower fat content. They can prevent chronic inflammation and reduce the incidence of high cholesterol levels. Cashew nuts are rich in palmitoleic and oleic acids that are monounsaturated fatty acids, good for the heart. For this reason, consuming cashew nuts in moderation is actually good for your coronary health.

Cashew nuts contain the following quantities of nutrients in one ounce serving:

  • Calories:155
  • Carbs:9 grams
  • Vitamin E:1% of the RDI
  • Fiber:1 grams
  • Magnesium:20% of the RDI
  • Protein:5 grams
  • Total Fat:12 grams

  1. Brazil Nuts


Brazil nuts have been included in the list of super foods that can prevent cancer. Being rich in selenium, which is an antioxidant that has the ability to provide protection against heart attack and cancer; Brazil nuts are widely recommended to be included in the diet. These nuts are also high in healthy fats and fiber which help in detoxifying the body, controlling inflammation and improving the thyroid functions.

An ounce serving of Brazil nuts has the following:

  • Calories:182
  • Carbs:3 grams
  • Vitamin E:8% of the RDI
  • Fiber:2 grams
  • Magnesium:26% of the RDI
  • Protein:4 grams
  • Total Fat:18 grams

  1. Peanuts


If you are looking for high protein content in nuts, you are going to find them in peanuts. Rich in several essential nutrients like niacin, potassium, magnesium, folate and Vitamin E, peanuts are called the poor man’s almonds. They can be consumed daily but in moderation to get health benefits.

On the basis of one ounce serving of dry and roasted peanuts, you will get the following:

  • Calories:176
  • Carbs:5 grams
  • Vitamin E:21% of the RDI
  • Fiber:3 grams
  • Magnesium:11% of the RDI
  • Protein:4 grams
  • Total Fat:17 grams

  1. Pistachios


Pistachios are rich in flavonoid and polyphenol content. They also have vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and copper in abundance. You are recommended to consume the in-shell pistachios as they provide a feeling of satisfaction and fullness. Moreover, they in fact reduce the calorie intake as you can snack on them rather than on other oily or fatty snacks. Pistachios are also beneficial for diabetic people as they provide a positive effect on glycemic control, obesity, blood pressure and inflammation.

Roughly, an ounce serving of pistachios contain the following:

  • Calories:156
  • Carbs:8 grams
  • Vitamin E:3% of the RDI
  • Fiber:3 grams
  • Magnesium:8% of the RDI
  • Protein:6 grams
  • Total Fat:5 grams

  1. Pecans


Standing on top of the list of tree nuts in terms of having high flavonoid and polyphenol content are the pecans. They are rich in Vitamin E which helps in inhibiting the oxidation of LDL or the bad cholesterol. In addition, pecans are known to contain folic acid, various minerals and vitamins including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, Vitamins A, B and E. your daily requirement of fiber can be fulfilled by around 10 percent if you consume a handful of pecans.

An ounce of serving of pecans contains the following quantities of nutrients:

  • Calories:193
  • Carbs:4 grams
  • Vitamin E:2% of the RDI
  • Fiber:5 grams
  • Magnesium:8% of the RDI
  • Protein:3 grams
  • Total Fat:20 grams

 

  1. Walnuts


Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fats and anti-oxidants as compared to peanuts and other tree nuts. They contain lower amounts of monounsaturated fats and fiber in comparison to many other nuts. For those people suffering from insomnia, walnuts can be a significant help as they contain melatonin, which is known to treat insomnia.

One ounce of serving of walnuts, which is nearly 28 grams, contains the following quantities of nutrients:

  • Calories:182
  • Carbs:4 grams
  • Vitamin E:1% of the RDI
  • Fiber:2 grams
  • Magnesium:11% of the RDI
  • Protein:4 grams
  • Total Fat:18 grams

  1. Hazelnuts


Hazelnuts are another type of nuts that are rich in manganese, folate, vitamin E, fatty acids and thiamine. Consuming them on a regular basis will keep you away from the degenerative diseases that are so prominent in later stages of life. Hazelnuts help in improving the cognitive and brain function while contributing to brain and spine development at the time of pregnancy.

Being very beneficial, an ounce of hazel nuts have the following:

  • Calories:176
  • Carbs:6 grams
  • Vitamin E:37% of the RDI
  • Fiber:5 grams
  • Magnesium:20% of the RDI
  • Protein:6 grams
  • Total Fat:9 grams

  1. Macadamia Nuts


The last on the list but not the least, the macadamia nuts are rich in several B complex vitamins that are so essential for the different metabolic functions. These nuts are known to contain polyphenol compounds and monounsaturated fats that help in reducing the risk of coronary artery diseases.

 

An ounce serving of Macadamia Nuts roughly contains:

  • Calories:200
  • Carbs:4 grams
  • Vitamin E:1% of the RDI
  • Fiber:5 grams
  • Magnesium:9% of the RDI
  • Protein:2 grams
  • Total Fat:21 grams

How to Consume the Nuts?


While the nuts are known to contain so many health benefits, they must be consumed in moderation as they can be high in fat. Nevertheless, being rich in protein and fiber, they can actually reduce the risk of obesity but over a period of time. So, the idea is to consume them in moderation each day so that you get their benefits without compromising on your waistline. It is suggested that you must avoid the salted or honey sweetened versions of the nuts as they simply load unnecessary amounts of sodium and sugar in your body.

Experts are of the view that the thin membrane or the skin of the nuts has the highest content of the polyphenolic and flavonoid contents. For this reason, you must not discard the skin while eating but include them to get the complete benefit from the nut. Moreover, you must include a variety of nuts in your diet rather than on concentrating on a single type as in the case of the latter you might get allergic to that nut, sometime later.

How to Store the Nuts?


The storage of nuts in the proper manner is very essential to get the benefits that they are known to provide. All types of nuts must be stored in a cool and dry place. Humidity and high temperatures can contaminate the nuts with Aspergillus Flavus fungus. This fungus is known to secrete a poisonous carcinogen, aflatoxin, which is associated with causing immunosuppression, acute hepatitis and the incidence of low concentration of white blood cells, known as neutropenia.

You must not only store the nuts properly but also avoid exposing them to the sunlight directly as the natural vitamin E and essential oil content in the nuts gets depleted. A simple test to know whether the nuts are fresh or oxidized is by tasting them. If they smell or taste rancid, it means they have been oxidized and must be immediately discarded.

Health benefits of Various Nuts


Now that you know that nuts are actually beneficial for your health in many ways, it is time to understand how they collectively help. The commonest of the nuts that are consumed include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and Brazil nuts. They are a good source of healthy fats, rich in protein and low in carbohydrates. However, the reasons for their benefit in certain conditions are discussed below:

Nuts for Weight Loss


Many people are of the view that since nuts have essential oils and fats, they are not fit for those looking to lose weight. In fact, the contrary to this is true. Since nuts have simple carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, they stimulate the body to shed the extra pounds by making it burn the excess fat.

Nuts also have more dietary fiber and for this reason when you consume them in the specified quantity, your brain gets the signal that the stomach is full. The intense craving for food is diminished and you do not eat in excess.

You need to take care when consuming nuts while trying to lose weight as calories consumed has a significant importance. Although small in size, nuts are packed with nutrients and that is why they are termed as dense energy foods. Therefore, you can get a lot of energy by consuming a small portion of nuts and if this quantity is increased, you are adding more calories to your body.

Nuts for a Healthy Heart


Another of the benefits that are often associated with eating nuts is that of better cardiac health. Nuts are packed with some of the essential nutrients that keep the LDL or the bad cholesterol at bay. LDL is associated with the build-up of plaque that shrinks the blood vessels. The condition of the lining of the arteries improves significantly by consuming nuts. Besides this, nuts contain the following substances that help in better cardiac health:

  • Unsaturated fats: Nuts contain unsaturated fats, both mono and poly and they are responsible for lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Fiber: The presence of fiber in nuts makes you feel fuller. Fiber also lowers cholesterol and prevents type II diabetes.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: While fish is said to be the best source for Omega 3 fatty acids, nuts too have them in adequate quantities. These acids are known to prevent heart attacks by normalizing the heart rhythms, the primary reason behind heart attacks.
  • Plant Sterols: Plant sterols are natural sources to reduce cholesterol. While they are artificially added to orange juice and margarine to spike their health benefits, plant sterols are found in nuts, naturally. For this reason as well, your cholesterol levels go down on consuming nuts.
  • Vitamin E: Arteries get narrower due to the plaque build-up. However, you can prevent this condition by consuming Vitamin E in any form. Nuts are a good source of Vitamin E and therefore help in prevent cardiac diseases or heart attack.
  • L-Arginine: Another of the nutrients in nuts that help in better heart health is L-Arginine. This substance is known to improve the health of the artery lining and walls. L-Arginine makes the artery lining more flexible and less susceptible to blood clots.

Conclusion

There is no denying the fact that nuts are very beneficial for your overall health. Including them in your diet will help you overcome many of the problems that can be easily kept at bay. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that you must consume them in moderation to get their benefits.

 

 

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