Nuts aren’t only tasty but superior for your health and well-being
Nuts have been a part of my life for decades, and I just had a handful of them now, with a sliced apple and cinnamon.
It’s a wonderfully delicious snack that keeps my energy levels stable until that lunchtime tummy grumble rolls around.
Not only are nuts a great snack that helps promote satiety, but they also provide many benefits beyond health.
Nuts help us with our brain functioning, the quality of our skin and also our hair.
The lowdown on nuts
It’s hard to believe that we have over 50 different nuts worldwide, yet we tend to stick to the ones we’re familiar with.
I am guilty of this, but I only recently embraced activated pistachios again. Now they have become my new obsession!
Due to climate change and natural disasters, getting hold of your favourite nuts can be challenging and expensive.
If you swap your unhealthy snacks during the day with nuts, your body will get a helping of beneficial fats, protein and a special kind of perk during that 3 pm slump.
In one handful of nuts daily, you get a truckload of vitamins, minerals and fibre that helps fill you up and limit mindless snacking on not-so-healthy foods.
Certain nuts have higher amounts of brain-boosting omega-three, whilst others have more fibre and antioxidants.
One thing is certain; nuts contain many calories — which is only a problem if you eat too many.
Therefore, they should be added in moderation and at the appropriate portion size, and a handful is generally enough to gain the necessary nutritional benefits.
It’s also best to go for organic and raw nuts that have not been roasted, salted or added sugar. That ensures you get the best quality nutrients from the nuts. More heating and processing will only provide empty calories because the heat removes most of the nutrient value.
If you can afford it, go for activated nuts, which are easier to digest and much better for your gut.
One warning, though — activated nuts are extremely addictive too!
One: What almonds can do for you
Almonds are available almost everywhere, and they contain the highest levels of vitamin E, a very powerful antioxidant that helps our skin from the damage that free radicals can cause.
These include harsh UV rays and all other pollutants that are in the air (including smoking).
Eating almonds can help to heal any skin trauma, as well as pigmentation.
Another study on post-menopausal women found that those who consumed 20% of their daily calories from almonds reduced the severity of their wrinkles. These women ate almonds for 16 weeks to experience those results.
Two: Walnuts can do great things
Walnuts are very powerful snacks, and it’s obvious based on their shape.
They deliberately look similar to our brains because if you eat them, expect high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection against cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Walnuts also have high alpha-linolenic acid levels, an essential fat that helps prevent cognitive decline.
Use walnuts as a preventative measure throughout your lifetime. Several studies have shown they help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Three: Pistachios for blood sugar control & high protein
If you are trying to eliminate animal protein from your diet or are looking for ways to eat more plant-based protein, then you should keep pistachios on your list of must-have snacks.
Pistachios are considered a complete plant-based protein source because they contain the correct amino acid profile. Pistachios contain 6 grams of protein per serving, or roughly 28 grams.
Five published studies have shown pistachios to promote heart health while containing a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity while also helping to control blood sugar.
They were eating pistachios in moderation help to control body weight because they provide a high level of satiety. When consumed alongside a high glycemic food, they help to lower your body’s glycemic response.
Pistachios are a beneficial snack alternative for glycemic control and help you attain protein intake goals.
Four: Pecans to prevent cardiovascular disease
A four-week study was conducted on older adults, who were overweight or obese, to assess the impact of consuming pecans.
These participants showed insulin control while also lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walnuts are not the only nut helping your brain function at its best.
Pecans should be mentioned for their high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids that help decrease mental decline and further reduce inflammation in your brain.
Higher consumption of nuts helps to improve your brain health over the long term.
Nuts have been shown time and time again to be associated with lowering your risk of many diseases, which can cause mortality.
Although nuts are high in fat, our body uses poly and monounsaturated fatty acids, which protect us from high cholesterol.
A standardised American diet is very low in good quality fats and fibre, promoting disease.
Another beneficial compounds in nuts are fibre, a phytochemical that helps us reduce inflammation and improve our insulin sensitivity by lowering oxidative stress.
So, next time you are stuck for a good quality health snack, look no further than nuts as you have a convenient and health-enriched food source.
Which type of nut is your favourite snack?
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