Go Nuts - Live Longer
Would you like to make your heart healthier, improve your memory and brain power, and live longer too? Then you need to eat nuts – it really is as simple as that. Nuts are jam-packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals – making them the snack of choice for many people today. Nuts have so much nutrition packed into such a small package; they really are a true super-food.
Part of a healthy diet
Nuts are a great snack if you are trying to diet or eat healthy as they have a high satiety value – that is, they help you to feel full and satisfied. So long as you concentrate on eating more of the raw, plain nuts and keep the chocolate or sugar coated varieties as an occasional treat, you can even still lose weight. Although nuts are high in fat, nut eaters do seem to stay slimmer – perhaps because they are eating less of other more unhealthy snacks. It is important, however, to remember to exercise proper portion control with nuts as otherwise it is very easy to consume far too many calories. Everything in moderation is an old adage that is very appropriate here.
Make it a habit
Replacing snacks of low nutritional value with nuts can make your body much healthier. Eating nuts regularly as part of a healthy diet encourages good eating habits. If you are trying to reduce or eliminate other bad habits, such as smoking, taking drugs or drinking alcohol, it is a good idea to replace those bad habits with good habits. Eating nuts can not only give you something to do with your hands and mouth, but the vitamins and minerals you ingest will make you feel so much better too. Cravings can be reduced and even eliminated over time with a good diet. Replace those old addictions with new healthy habits and see your health improve in ways you never thought possible. According to a 30-year Harvard study, daily nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer, heart disease or respiratory disease. Overall, regular nut eaters were 20 per cent less likely to have died during the course of the study than those people who avoided nuts altogether. The findings were taken from nearly 120,000 participants who were divided into six categories, ranging from never eating nuts up to eating nuts at least once a day. Results showed that the more often people ate nuts, the lower their risk of premature death. Earlier studies had already shown eating nuts lowers the levels of bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. It also lowers blood pressure and the responses of blood pressure to stress. It was concluded that nuts may indeed provide cardio-protective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – good news for all nut eaters.
Range of health benefits
All nuts are good for your heart as they are rich in omega-3 fats and many are also high in zinc and vitamin E, an antioxidant that is good for your skin and may also help protect your eyesight. They can even help reduce your risk of cataracts and slow down vision loss. Although all nuts are good for you, each type of nut can offer a different health benefit as follows:
Almonds – help improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Brazil nuts – are very high in selenium, a mineral that may help prevent and manage arthritis as well as protecting the skin from sun damage
Cashews – are a good source of zinc which helps maintain healthy eyes, hair and skin
Hazelnuts – are particularly rich in vitamin E which helps maintain healthy eyes and skin
Peanuts – are high in magnesium which may help lower blood pressure and improve PMS symptoms
Pistachios – usually come with the shell still on and so are a good choice for dieters as they take longer to eat
Walnuts – contain high amounts of alpha linoleic acid which may help with heart arrhythmias and reduce inflammation of the arteries
Versatile and tasty
While the health benefits of nuts are wide-ranging, so is the taste. From almonds, brazil nuts and cashews to pecans, pistachios and walnuts, the range of nuts available is both vast and delicious. Nuts can be sweet or salty, hot and spicy, or simply plain and raw. They can be eaten on their own, as part of a salad, a main meal or even a dessert. Nuts are so versatile and their use can range from a simple snack to an elaborate recipe to a chocolate-coated gift.