WHAT ARE NUTS?
Nuts are seed kernels that are used in cooking or eaten as a snack. They’re high in fat and calories. They contain a hard, inedible outer shell that usually needs to be cracked open to release the kernel inside. Fortunately, you can buy most nuts from the store already shelled and ready to eat.
Tree nuts are plant-based proteins that contain fiber, vitamins, minerals (Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese, Selenium) and antioxidants. They have cholesterol- lowering properties and are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Here are some of the most commonly consumed nuts:
Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pistachios, Walnuts, peanuts. Though peanuts are technically legumes like peas and beans, they’re usually referred to as nuts due to their similar nutrition profile and characteristics.
Loaded With Antioxidants-
Nuts contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may protect your cells and “bad” LDL cholesterol from damage caused by free radicals.
May Aid Weight Loss-
Nuts are considered a high-calorie food but research suggests that nuts may help you lose weight. One large study assessing the effects of the Mediterranean diet found that people assigned to eat nuts lost an average of 2 inches (5 cm) from their waists — significantly more than those given olive oil.
Almonds have consistently been shown to promote weight loss rather than weight gain in controlled studies. For instance, while the nutrition facts on a package of almonds may indicate that a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving has 160–170 calories, your body only absorbs about 129 of these calories
So, nuts have been shown to promote weight loss rather than contribute to weight gain. Several studies indicate that your body doesn’t absorb all of the calories in nuts. The key here is portion control and how often you consume them.
May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides-
Nuts have wonderful effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pistachios have been shown to lower triglycerides in people who are obese and those with diabetes. The cholesterol-lowering power of nuts is due to their high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Almonds and hazelnuts appear to raise “good” HDL cholesterol while reducing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome-
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are strongly linked.
Nuts may be one of the best foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. 1- they’re low in carbs and don’t raise blood sugar levels much. So, substituting nuts for higher-carb foods should lead to reduced blood sugar levels. Studies suggest that eating nuts may even lower oxidative stress, blood pressure, and other health markers in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Nuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body’s way of defending itself from injury, bacteria, and other potentially harmful pathogens. However, chronic, long-term inflammation can cause damage to organs and increase disease risk. Similarly, some nuts — including pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds — have been found to fight inflammation in healthy people and those with serious conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.
High in Beneficial Fiber-
While your body can’t digest fiber, the bacteria that live in your colon can. Many types of fiber function as prebiotics or food for your healthy gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and turn it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). (last week podcast). Nuts are a great food for this. Many nuts are high in fiber, which can reduce disease risk, help keep you full, decrease calorie absorption, and improve gut health.
May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke-
Nuts are extremely good for your heart. Several studies suggest that nuts help lower heart disease and stroke risk due to their benefits for cholesterol levels, “bad” LDL particle size, artery function, and inflammation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24075767/
HERE ARE 9 GOOD NUTS-
1. Almond- Today, about 80% of all almonds are produced in California. You will find almonds in foods and even as flavors in drinks all around the world. If you’re looking for an addition to your diet that packs a healthy punch, a small serving of almonds here and there can make a big difference. Almonds may improve cholesterol levels. They’re an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. Almonds may have a beneficial effect on your gut microbiota by supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. It’s easy to eat too many, which could mean you’re getting more calories and fat than you need. A healthy serving is ¼ cup, or about 23 almonds.
2. Pistachios- Pistachios are the seeds of the pistachio tree. They’re usually green and slightly sweet. They’re called nuts, but botanically pistachios are seeds. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including: manganese, Phosphorous, Copper, Vitamin B6. They also pack quite a punch of potassium They may improve cholesterol levels — eating 2–3 ounces of pistachios a day may help increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Also, pistachios may help improve other heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and weight. A one-ounce serving of roasted pistachios equals 49 nuts – more nuts per serving than any other nut and contains more than 10% of the Daily Value for dietary fiber, vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus and copper.
3. Walnuts- To say that walnuts are a nutritious food is a bit of an understatement. Walnuts provide healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals Walnuts appear to improve a number of heart disease risk factors, which may be due to their high content of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid- the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid) and other nutrients. Walnuts are the only tree nut with ALA. https://walnuts.org/nutrition/nutrition-info/alpha-linolenic-acid/
Walnuts are not only low in carbs but also loaded with nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, and fiber. Several large studies have found that eating walnuts significantly reduced total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol levels. One serving of walnuts is 1 ounce, or about 7 walnuts. A serving of walnuts has 185 calories. That small serving size packs a big nutritional benefit. Here are the vitamins and minerals you'll get in an ounce of walnuts: Up to 3% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 10% of your daily iron, 5% of your daily potassium, 14% of your daily magnesium, 7% of your daily folate. For the biggest heart health benefits, go with unsalted walnuts, and choose ones that are raw or dry-roasted instead of cooked in oil. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/walnuts-health-benefits
4. Cashews- Cashews are loved all around the world for rich flavor. Cashews are a kidney-shaped seed sourced from the cashew tree — a tropical tree native to Brazil but now cultivated in various warm climates across the world. They’re rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds and make for an easy addition to many dishes. Rich in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants such as polyphenols, cashews offer a variety of health benefits. Cashews are rich in a range of nutrients. One ounce of unroasted, unsalted cashews provides you with around 157 Calories and 5 grams of protein almost the same amount of protein as an equivalent quantity of cooked meat which is 7 grams per 1 0z. In addition, cashews contain a significant amount of copper, a mineral essential for energy production, healthy brain development, and a strong immune system. They’re also a great source of magnesium and manganese, nutrients important for bone health. They contain a number of important nutrients and studies indicate that they may improve blood lipid levels and reduce blood pressure. Similar to other nuts, cashews may promote weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health.
5. Pecans- The pecan is a nut from a species of hickory trees native to northern Mexico and the Southern United States. The nut is a nutrition loaded with vitamins and minerals. Raw pecans are cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and low in carbohydrates. They have a rich, buttery flavor and natural sweetness, they make a delicious in dishes and as a snack. Pecans are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Most of the fat found in pecans is a healthy type called monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat can help lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Keeping your LDL cholesterol low reduces your risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Pecans have a very low glycemic index, which means that eating them does not cause a spike in blood sugar, even in people with diabetes. Pecans also contain Omega-3 fats, which can help ease the pain of arthritis by reducing inflammation. The magnesium, calcium, fiber, vitamin E, and zinc in pecans have anti-inflammatory properties. Pecans are loaded with thiamine and phosphorus, Vit A, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vit b6, calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. These many vitamins and minerals important for healthy skin, eyes, teeth, bones, muscles, and nerves. A serving of pecans is 1 ounce, which is a little less than ¼ cup or 19 pecan halves has 196 calories.
6. Macadamia Nuts- Macadamia nuts are tree nuts that have a subtle, butter-like flavor and creamy texture. They’re linked to several benefits, like improved digestion, heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control. macadamia nuts may reduce other risk factors for heart disease, including oxidative stress and inflammation. Macadamia nuts are very high in monounsaturated fat. This may explain their ability to reduce heart disease risk factors. They’re an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. Macadamia nuts can be eaten raw or used in recipes. One ounce (about 10 to 12 pieces) of macadamia nuts contains 204 calories. While macadamia nuts are healthy, they’re also high in calories. Overeating these nuts can quickly add up to a lot of calories. For instance, one-half cup of these nuts is about 475 calories, which can be the caloric equivalent of a meal for many people.
7. Brazil Nuts- Brazil nuts originate from a tree in the Amazon and are an incredibly rich source of selenium. Selenium is a mineral involved in many critical bodily functions, including metabolism, reproduction, DNA production, and immune health. Brazil nuts are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats. A 1-ounce serving of Brazil nuts has nearly 1,000% of your recommended daily allowance of selenium. A single nut has 96 micrograms, much higher than many other types of nuts. Other nutrients in Brazil nuts include Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, and Zinc. A 1-ounce serving of dried Brazil nuts contains 186 Calories.
8. Hazelnuts- Hazelnuts are a tree nut native to the eastern half of North America. Hazelnuts have a sweet flavor and can be eaten raw, roasted or ground into a paste. . Like other nuts, hazelnuts are rich in nutrients and have a high content of protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. They have beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors. A hazelnut-rich diet reduced total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also lowered markers of inflammation and improved blood vessel function. Hazelnuts are rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, manganese, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Copper, Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. One serving of 10 hazelnuts contains 88 Calories.
9. Peanuts- peanuts are not tree nuts, but belong to the legume family. They grow below ground as the fruit of the peanut plant. On average, Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanuts per year. Today, 50% of the peanuts eaten in the United States are consumed in the form of peanut butter. Peanuts contain a wide array of nutrients, including folate, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Peanuts are rich in antioxidants, including resveratrol, an antioxidant compound that has been shown to protect against heart disease, certain cancers, and cognitive decline.