2 Nuts That Can Revolutionize Your Diet
Every year seems to bring new evidence that nuts are nature’s most versatile, nutritionally balanced health food. And yet, they continue to be cast aside by many as fatty junk food. We must be nuts as a society not to shout the virtues of shelled snacks from the treetops!
The case for nuts doesn’t end with fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels among many other benefits. Nuts have also been shown to help provide an edge against stroke and type 2 diabetes, curb appetite, and encourage weight loss, as studies indicate that calories from nuts don’t always correlate with the expected amount of weight gain. Nuts also give vegetarians a guiltless protein source that rivals any meat, and they mix well any number of diverse dishes.
However you spread it, nuts should be a part of a healthy diet plan. Here, then, are our top five, in no particular order:
They’re everywhere: in salads, on pizzas, as snacks with all manner of seasonings – they even have their own milk. With good reason: Almonds rank among the highest-protein nuts, but at a fraction of the price of some higher-end nuts like walnuts. Almonds are also high in manganese and vitamin E, vital defenders against oxidative damage.
Those who consume almonds on a regular basis are at lower risk for developing heart disease. One study even found they actually help lower elevated cholesterol.
What are you waiting for? Consider topping your salads with slivered almonds or snack on a few with your mid-afternoon protein shake.
What’s in an ounce of almonds?*
Other significant vitamins/minerals: riboflavin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc.
The word superfood gets tossed around in respect to walnuts more than any other nut. This basically means while we now know walnuts are nutrient-packed, we’re still in the process of discovering all the benefits they can bring.
Among the latest studies was one that found that walnuts may actually enhance reasoning skills in teenagers! Considering the insane popularity of Justin Bieber, this is no small feat.
Much of the walnut’s stellar reputation comes from its richness in essential fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid.
A well-publicized study in 2006 found that the fatty acids derived from regular walnut consumption decreased subjects’ total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol in short-term trials.
And you don’t have to eat a tree’s worth to see the benefits!
Just a quarter cup serving of walnuts daily provides almost 100 percent of the total recommended omega-3 fatty acid intake and contains just 163 calories. Just a one-ounce serving has more omega-3s than a 4 oz piece of salmon.
Walnuts also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that are known to be helpful in reducing inflammation levels and warding off type 2 diabetes. Another interesting walnut factoid: They’re a rich source of melatonin, which encourages a healthy sleep cycle.
What’s in an ounce of walnuts?
Other significant vitamins/minerals: thiamine, vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc.