Typicaly, nuts are not thought of as food.
Nuts are usually considered as something of a novelty you consume with a drink at a bar or on an airplane flight.
The fact is; Nuts have been part of our natural diet for hundreds of thousand years. In fact our "hunter-gatherer" diet may have consisted more on nuts, seeds, wild berries and herbs than the occasional kill. ( I am pretty sure that hunting an animal with sticks and stones wasn't that easy ! )
The health promoting properties of nuts have been known for a long time but this fact has never been publisized until recently.
A Harvard study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that; "frequency of nut consumption is inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality".
The translation of this is : Eat nuts and you live longer !
Here's why ;
- Heart Healthy Fats - Nuts contain unsaturated healthy fats ( mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated ) that lower the levels of bad cholesterol.
- Omega-3 fatty acids- Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and protect the heart.
- Plant Proteins - Half of our daily recommended protein intake should come from plant sources and nuts are packed with them.
- Plant Sterols - Help to reduce bad cholesterol
- Fiber - Reduces fat absorbtion from the bowels and helps to lower cholesterol, Fiber also makes you feel full, so you eat less.
- Vitamin E - Is a powerful antioxidant that protects against heart disease and various cancers.
- Selenium - Is associated with a reduction in cancer risk
- L-arginine - In the body this essential amino acid is converted to "nitric oxide" (NO). Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax to improve circulation. ( A note for the guys; Viagra works through increasing NO !!! )
Walnuts, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Almonds and Pistachios not only offer numerous health benefits but are tasty and satisfying. An ounce before meals will supress the apetite and prevent excess eating. Nuts are also an excelent choice as a snack when hunger knocks the door.
Prefer unsalted and dry roasted nuts.
2 ounces of an assortment of nuts per day should be part of our healthy nutrition plan.