Just two days ago, I ran into an old schoolmate at Carbondale, Illinois. This young man, Ben, was called Nutty Ben back in the day, and he always protested because of the other meaning the prefix has. Every time he reported us for teasing him with the name, we just lied that we said “naughty Ben”. But really, he amazed us by having nuts in a corner of his lunchbox all the time. So our reunion brought about my research on nuts. I thought I should share my findings.
The little things we don`t know their importance actually have more health benefits than others which we focus so much on, sometimes. One great health benefit of eating nuts is that it is good for your heart. Nuts are filled with unsaturated fatty acids and some other nutrients. The most wonderful thing about nuts is that it is affordable and easy to carry around everywhere you go.
Some Common Nuts
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
What Makes Nuts Healthy?
Nuts are generally understood to provide protein, however, nuts also contain some other heart-healthy substances. Some are:
Although studies are not entirely sure how, it’s agreed upon that the beneficial fats in nuts; both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol contributes to afflictions like heart attacks and strokes. These unsaturated fats prevent these from happening.
Some nuts contain plant sterols. It is a substance that can help lower your bad cholesterol levels. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols appear naturally in nuts.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are generally acclaimed to be components of fish, but some nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a healthy form of fatty acids that seems to be of some benefits to the heart, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that could lead to heart attacks.
All nuts contain fiber; a well-established defense mechanism against bad cholesterol. Fiber easily fills you up, so, there`s less tendency of excessive eating. Fiber is also thought to play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin E is said to deplete the development of plaques in your arteries, which can narrow them. Plaque development in your arteries could lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack which we all don`t want.
Nuts also have l-arginine, a component which is a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can clog blood flow.
So Nuts and Healthy Hearts…
Nuts lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or Bad cholesterol levels. LDL plays a role in the development of plaque that builds up on the blood vessels. What nuts do to help is assist in lowering the LDL to reduce its detrimental effects on the blood vessels. Some studies have also discovered that nuts could also lower levels of inflammation which contributes to heart disease.
Want to Prevent Heart Attacks?
Heart Attacks are like plagues that we all avoid. Look no further. Your remedy is closer than you think. Nuts! Yes, nuts could also reduce your risk of developing blood clots that could result in a fatal heart attack. Nuts also seem to ameliorate the health of the sheathing of your arteries.
How Does Fiber Help?
Fiber is a healthy component in foods. It is useful in a number of ways. For example, fiber normalizes one’s bowel movements. Dietary fiber also increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it, making the bowel movement less stressful. It then helps in lowering cholesterol levels. It also assists in controlling blood sugar levels and aids in achieving a healthy weight. Rejoice for all these benefits are embedded in one; Nuts! A major component of nuts is fiber. Which means, by eating nuts which are rich in fiber, you automatically acquire all the health benefits that fiber offers. Fiber fills you up easily and decreases the calories you absorb from daily meals. A study claims that an increase in fiber intake from 18 to 36 grams daily might result in up to 130 fewer calories being absorbed. In summation, what nuts offer as a result of being rich in fiber are a reduction in the risk of diseases, achieving considerable filling, a decrease in calorie absorption and also improving the health of one’s gut.
Nuts and NUTrition
They contain many nutrients. An article on nuts by Franziska Spritzler gives a list of nutritious elements present in one ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts:
Calories: 173, Protein: 5 grams, Fat: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat, Carbs: 6 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI, Magnesium: 16% of the RDI, Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI, Copper: 23% of the RDI, Manganese: 26% of the RDI and Selenium: 56% of the RDI.
The number of nutrients in nuts differ. Some nuts have higher amounts of certain nutrients than others. For instance, just one Brazil nut provides more than 100% of the RDI for selenium.
Want to Lose some Weight?
Consider some nuts. Ironically, nuts are considered high in calories, however, research suggests that nuts may actually do more in helping you lose weight than adding to it, because, surprisingly, not all the calories in nuts are absorbed by your body. Almonds, for example, which are considered nuts have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled studies. One study discovered that pistachios may also be helpful for weight loss. In a study carried on overweight women, those who consumed almonds lost nearly three times as much weight and experienced a significantly greater decrease in waist size compared to the control group.
You Might Just Control Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a type of disease that commonly affects a lot of people. When one has a condition called metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes is really not far away. Surprisingly, nuts may be of some benefits to people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Here is how. Nuts are relatively low in carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels to any alarming level. Some studies reveal that nut-eating could also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure, as it provides other health benefits for people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
There are a number of claims on the how safe nuts are, as some variations in body systems exist; some persons are allergic to some kinds of nuts. However, several pieces of research and studies have been carried out and one similarity in their conclusions is that nuts are healthy.
So for the first time, even though we spent half a decade together at school, I asked Ben why he always ate nuts. Some of his reasons, you have read in this article. I was amazed. I made some findings and got more amazed. I called him Nutty Ben and we both laughed heartily. He brought out a bottle from his backpack and gave to me. Guess what! He gave me some nuts. Ben still eats nuts. I then considered being “nutty” too. Why wouldn`t you join me and Ben, so you can enjoy these health benefits?
Go get yours! *winks*
Spritzler, F. (2016, Oct 1)8 Health benefits of nuts. HealthLine. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts