Nuts are perhaps one of the healthiest and tastiest snacks one can find, recommended by dietitians and nutritionists alike, even though they are high in fat and calories. They usually contain inedible outer shells that need to be cracked open for the good stuff inside. They are infinitely accessible across our illustrious country albeit a tad on the expensive side. But what is a little money when it comes to our health? When it comes to health benefits, nuts are well worth the price. Here are the 6 Benefits of Eating Nuts.
They Are Highly Nutritious
When it comes to macronutrients (Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats) profiles, nuts are very similar, but they have slightly different micronutrients. Per gram Nuts have about 29kJ of energy. Most nut types are high in monounsaturated fats and walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fats; all nuts are low in saturated fats. They are also good source of dietary protein and some nuts are high in amino acid arginine. Also high in dietary fibre, which we have mentioned before on this site, has multiple health benefits.
They Are Packed With Antioxidants
Mentioned before on this site, antioxidants are generally very valuable substances that combat oxidative stress and decrease disease risk. And guess what is loaded with antioxidants? These nuts. The polyphenols in nuts are antioxidants that have a high capacity to prevent the free radicals in our body from causing cell damage. In Fact, according to one study, walnuts might have a greater ability to combat free radicals than fish. The antioxidants in walnuts & almonds can protect the delicate fats in your cells from being harmed by oxidation.
However, studies in the elderly & individuals with metabolic syndrome have shown that cashews & walnuts don’t have a significant impact on antioxidant capacity. There was an improvement in other markers like an increase in RBC (Red Blood Cells) count and linoleic acid. So generally Nuts are healthy for the elderly even if they are not as effective antioxidants.
Possibly Helpful In Weight Loss
But wait didn’t we mention before that nuts are high in calorie, and now we are telling you they can aid in weight loss. Seems contradictory but it isn’t for the most part, research has suggested nuts may help in weight loss. Regular consumption of nuts as a part of a healthy diet can lead to weight loss, provided that you implement portion control. You see, while nuts are high in calories, your body doesn’t absorb all of them, according to research; a portion of fat stays trapped in the nuts’ fibrous wall during digestion.
Helps In Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
You might have heard of this little thing called type 2 diabetes, one of the most common serious health conditions in the world. More than 400 million people across the globe suffer from diabetes and according to WHO estimates, 90% of the global diabetic cases are type 2 diabetes. Then there is metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X. It is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of strokes, heart disease and diabetes. Even more common across the globe, nearly 25% of the world’s population has syndrome X. In other words, 1.95 billion people worldwide suffer from it. High blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels are all included in metabolic syndrome. Type 2 diabetes and syndrome X are linked and so anything beneficial in one would be beneficial in the other.
Nuts are one of the best foods to take for people with either diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Since they are low in carbs and do not raise blood sugar levels much, you would benefit greatly by replacing high carb foods with nuts. This will result in lowering blood sugar levels. But that’s not all, studies have suggested that eating nuts can lead to lowering oxidative stress, blood pressure and other health markers in individuals with diabetes and syndrome X. A study has shown that regular consumption of pistachios decreased fasting blood sugar levels, blood pressure and C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker linked with heart disease.
But the evidence is mixed and further research is required as a few studies did not note that nuts benefit people with metabolic syndrome.
Might Lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
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We all know what cholesterol is. And triglyceride is the most common type of fat found in the body. Coming from your diet, especially the oily stuff. Neither is inherently bad for you but if their level is too high, it can lead to some serious health issues. So it is always in your best interest to keep both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check. That is where nuts come in; pistachios especially have shown to rather impressively lower triglyceride levels in obese and diabetic people.
As we have mentioned before, nuts are low in saturated fatty acids while being high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This results in lowering cholesterol levels. Almonds and hazelnuts raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind of cholesterol) and lower total and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind of cholesterol). A study in women with metabolic syndrome showed that consumption of a mixture of peanuts, walnuts and pine nuts significantly lowered all cholesterol levels except for HDL.
May Increase Fat and Calorie Burning
Did you know you can burn calories while doing nothing? Admittedly it is not a lot that you burn, but you burn some nonetheless. Well, there is evidence suggesting that nut consumption can lead to a boost in the number of calories burned during rest. One study showed that you might burn up to 28% more calories after a meal consisting of walnuts than a meal with fat from dairy products in it.
Yet another study demonstrated that supplementation with peanut oil in overweight people resulted in a 5% increase in calorie burning. Several other studies have shown that eating nuts can even lead to fat burning among overweight and obese people. That being said, the results are mixed and further research is necessary to confirm the link between nut consumption and calorie burning
Nut consumption on a regular basis can better your health in any number of ways just as long as you take it in moderation. Besides who doesn’t like nuts, eat nuts to be healthier, but keep in mind some nuts do lead to allergic reactions.