Hey friends, today it’s all about nuts, and I don’t mean going nuts from the kids or work; no, we’re talking about the ones you nibble on when you need a snack or the ones you eat while at a holiday party.
Some people aren’t sure if eating nuts is healthy for them or not. As they are high in fat, most people associate that with not being a good thing. However, fats are not the enemy when we are talking about healthy fats, which nuts have.
Sure, if you eat a whole bag full, that isn’t ideal, but if we are talking about normal servings, which we will get into, there is nothing wrong with eating nuts. In fact, they are known to improve your health, not deplete it. Yes, you heard me right, nuts are tremendous! Now, let’s get into why that is.
It’s not a good idea to avoid nuts
Melissa Diane Smith, a holistic nutritionist, who looked closely at the 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study, summarized this, “nearly 500 researchers examined nearly 100,00 data sources” concerning the most comprehensive analysis of the cause of death. What they found was quite shocking. One of the leading causes, or ‘dietary risk factors for death’ was not eating enough nuts. “Eating more vegetables could potentially save 1.8 million lives, but eating more nuts and seeds might save 2.5 million.”
According to the study, one of the main ‘healthy foods missing from most diets around the world actually are nuts and seeds!”
What makes nuts so healthy?
Remember when we were talking about healthy fats? Well, that is one reason nuts are so good for you. Others include but are not limited to:
- dietary fiber
- vegetable protein
- vitamins such as E, folic acid (a B vitamin), niacin, potassium.
- different minerals to include zinc, copper, and magnesium.
In addition, they contain amino acid arginine, which helps your body build protein along with high antioxidant properties keeping your body’s overall health.
Keeping a strong heart
Multiple studies show that eating “five or more servings (five ounces) of nuts per week” reduced “coronary heart disease incidence and death.”
Healthy blood sugar levels
An article was written by Nutrients in November of 2017 that talks about “Benefits of Nut Consumption on Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Risk Factors.” To summarize the findings they found, “nut consumption could play a role in reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) through improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism, weight maintenance and improved endothelial function” (a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels.)
As nuts are low in carbohydrates, they rarely raise a person’s blood sugar levels. See the chart below for dietary information.
Nutrient content of raw nuts per 100 g *.
|Almond||Walnut||Hazelnut||Macadamia||Pecan||Pistachio||Brazil Nut||Cashew Nut||Peanut||Pine Nut||Chest Nut|
|Total fat (g)||49.93||65.21||60.75||75.77||71.97||45.32||67.1||43.85||49||68.37||2.26|
|Saturated fat (g)||3.8||6.126||4.464||12.061||6.18||5.907||16.134||7.783||7||4.89||0.425|
|Total Fiber (g)||12.5||6.7||9.7||8.6||9.6||10.6||7.5||3||8.5||3.7||8.1|
|Total phytosterol (mg)||~198||~110.2||~122||~116||~158.7||~214||~123.8||~151||NA||236.1||22|
|δ 5-avenasterol||21||7.3||2.6||–||14.3||–||19.7 (δ avenasterol + B sitostanol)||14||40.1||–|
|Total polyphenol (mg) #||287||1576||687||126||1284||867||224||232.9||NA||NA||NA|
|Total polyphenol (mg) $||212.9 ± 12.3||1580.5 ± 58||314.8 ± 47.3||497.8 ± 52.6||1463.9 ± 32.3||571.8 ± 12.5||169.2 ± 14.6||316.4 ± 7.0||645.9 ± 47||152.9 ± 14.1||NA|
|Flavonoids (mg) $||93.5 ± 10.8||744.8 ± 93.3||113.7 ± 30.2||137.9 ± 9.9||704.7 ± 29.5||143.3 ± 18.7||107.8 ± 6.0||63.7 ± 2.1||189.8 ± 13.1||45.0 ± 5.4||NA|
|Ellagitannins (mg) ‡||ND||823 ± 59||ND||ND||301 ± 7||ND||ND||ND||ND||NA||149 ± 3|
|Proanthocyanidins (mg) #||176||60||491||NA||477||226||NA||2||NA||NA||0|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin (μg)||1||9||92||0||17||2903||0||22||0||9||NA|
What do I eat to lose weight?
A study done by BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health concluded that “Increasing daily consumption of nuts is associated with less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of obesity in adults. Replacing 0.5 servings/day of less healthful foods with nuts may be a simple strategy to help prevent gradual long-term weight gain and obesity.”
In short, when you need a snack or are hungry before your meal is ready, grab some nuts instead of reaching for another food. Nuts are also great while traveling as they are mess-free and very filling. I keep a bag handy in the car at all times for myself or children who always seem to be hungry.
How many should a person eat in a day?
As we discussed at the beginning, moderation is key. One of the superpowers of a nut is that you don’t need a lot to reap tremendous benefits. A 1/2 oz. to 1 oz. daily serving for five days is all that’s recommended. See the chart below for amounts equaling 1 oz.
- Brazil nuts 3 (8 is 1 ounce but a person should not consume more than 3 per day.)
- hazelnuts 12
- macadamia nuts 12
- walnut or pecan halves 14
- medium cashews 18
- almonds 24
- peanuts 35
In what form should a person eat nuts?
When we are talking about any type of food, raw and organic form is the healthiest choice. For nuts, sprouted is also suggested. You can toast them but be sure to do it at a temperature below 350°. There are also dry roasted nuts. Note, when storing a lot of nuts, keep them in your refrigerator or freezer for the best results.
How often should you eat them?
I would suggest eating something every couple of hours to help your metabolism stay engaged. So if you have a meal, then two hours later, have some nuts a healthy snack. Be sure when eating anything, you take your time and chew it properly. Your body will digest your food more efficiently when you don’t slam it down.
Is it safe to eat nuts during pregnancy?
Early on pregnant women were told not to eat nuts due to the unknown if the fetus would develop an allergy. However, new studies say it is very good for pregnant women to eat nuts as it will help protect the baby from getting allergies. As nuts are high in minerals and vitamins they are also a great source for a mother to get the nutrients she needs.
When are nuts NOT good for you?
Each person is different and so our bodies react differently to foods. If you have a reaction to any nut please do not eat it. In addition, they are meant to be eaten in moderation so if you have a tendency to binge eat, be careful. I would suggest each day measuring out your daily intake and then munch on them throughout the day as desired.
On that note I will leave you to snack :).
Be sure to stop in next week and always stay healthy and free.