Packed with protein and healthful fats, the humble nut is an all around super-snack. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a moment to look at some of the undeniable reasons we should all be going nuts for these tasty little treats. Here’s what you need to know.
Eating nuts could lower risk of heart disease
Heart disease affects 7.4 million Britons and is responsible for almost 170,000 deaths each year, according to the British Heart Foundation. With that in mind, doing all you can to keep your heart as healthy as possible is a must. One way in which you could improve your everyday wellness is by adapting your diet and eating well.
Here’s where nuts come into the picture. New research from the European Society of Cardiology suggests that eating nuts twice a week could lower a person’s risk of fatality by heart disease by 17%. As part of the study researchers worked with 5,432 adults and looked into how they ate and their health over more than a decade. The results suggested that those who regularly ate nuts as part of their diet had lower risk factors.
“Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat and contain little saturated fat,” said the study author Dr Noushin Mohammadifard. “They also have protein, minerals, vitamins, fibre, phytosterols, and polyphenols which benefit heart health.”
What’s more, it’s not just about eating nuts—the type of nut you eat matters too. “Raw fresh nuts are the healthiest,” said Dr Mohammadifard. “Nuts should be fresh because unsaturated fats can become oxidised in stale nuts, making them harmful. You can tell if nuts are rancid by their paint-like smell and bitter or sour taste.”
Plus it could prevent weight gain
Worried about how weight gain could affect your health? While there are many small changes you can make to your diet, including nuts could be a step in the right direction. Combining this habit with portion control as well as a nutritionally balanced diet may mean that you can control your weight level.
Eating Brazil and other types of nuts may help to prevent weight gain while offering heart healthy benefits, according to a study from the American Heart Association. The study found that eating these snacks on a daily basis had a major impact on a person’s waistline. Plus, substituting nuts for red meat could lead to further health benefits.
“Once people reach adulthood, they start to gradually gain about one pound a year of weight, which seems small. But if you consider gaining one pound over 20 years, it accumulates to a lot of weight gain,” said Xiaoran Liu, Ph.D., author of the study.
“Adding one ounce of nuts to your diet in place of less healthy foods—such as red or processed meat, French fries or sugary snacks—may help prevent that slow, gradual weight gain after you enter adulthood and reduce the risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.”
And it might even improve brain cognition
Worried about the ageing process? Snacking on some high-protein nuts could protect your mind from the hands of time. High nut consumption—i.e. eatingnuts regularly—has been linked to improved cognitive health in older people according to research from the University of South Australia.
The study found that adults over the age of 55 who ate nuts on a daily basis had a range of improved cognitive functions. These included better thinking, high levels of reasoning and better overall memory. These side effects shed light on the benefits of nuts.
“Improved and preventative health care can help address the challenges that an aging population presents,” said Dr. Ming Li, the study’s lead researcher.
“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60% compared to those not eating nuts, effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.”