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Why we like nuts...


What is the nutrition in nuts? Incorporating a variety of nuts into your diet provides a great source of protein as well as numerous other nutritional and health benefits. Nuts are excellent sources of protein, fiber, minerals, healthy mono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Does anyone remember visiting family and friend’s homes during the holiday season and seeing those daunting bowls of “mixed” nuts with the nut cracker not far away? I know I was never really sure exactly what they were, or if they were simply a decoration. It didn’t seem that people actually ate them.

As it turns out one of the most unexpected nutritional discoveries of the 1990s was that the frequent eating of nuts dramatically improves your health. In particular, nut eating greatly lowers the risk of heart disease. Researchers reported that people eating nuts daily had up to 60% fewer heart attacks than those who ate nuts less than once per month. Prior to the publication of these results, nutritional advice had usually been to minimize nut consumption on the grounds that they were a “fatty” food.

Consuming nuts lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers “LDL” (bad) cholesterol, and aids in reducing body fat and managing body composition. Consuming a small quantity of nuts between or prior to meals helps reduce hunger and increases the feeling of satiety, thus reducing the incidence of over eating.

So what are the healthiest nuts to consume and why?

What are the Top 5 Healthiest Nuts to Consume?

The healthiest nuts are almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews. What is the nutritional value and health benefits of these nuts?

Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) and selenium. Containing high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, almonds help in reducing cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health.

Walnuts are highly revered for being a great source of omega-3 essential fatty aids. These fatty acids have been shown to yield numerous health benefits: protecting the heart, improving cognitive function, and reducing inflammatory effects of asthma, eczema, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Walnuts contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that provides cancer-fighting and immune system boosting properties.

Brazils:                                                                                                                                                                                A native of South America, the nuts grow inside a hard, woody fruit rather like a coconut shell which has to be broken open to expose the 12-24 nuts inside. Brazils are rich in mono-unsaturated fats and selenium. Both these compounds help prevent coronary artery disease by lowering LDL or “bad cholesterol levels and increasing HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Brazils are also high in protein, Vitamin E and posses antioxidant properties.

Pecans contain an abundance of nutrients (over 19 minerals and vitamins) including folic acid, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B and zinc. Like almonds and walnuts, pecans provide heart-healthy properties by reducing total blood cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol, and create clearer arterial flow

Cashews are rich in magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and biotin. Cashews contain the lowest percentage of fats compared to most nuts and provide high levels of oleic acid (about 50% of the total fat in cashews), the same fat found in olive oil.

Other notable nuts that provide nutritional benefits and healthy sources of fats: Filberts (hazelnuts), Peanuts, Chestnuts, Pine nuts, Pistachios and Macadamias.

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