Health benefits of nuts

An increasing amount of research is supporting the health benefits of nuts.  One particular piece of research looked at reducing the incidence of condition called Metabolic Syndrome (a combination of medical conditions that increase the risk of developing Cardiovascular disease and Diabetes). They took a 1000 people on a Mediterranean style diet and split them into groups. The group taking a handful (30g) of mixed nuts each day found they had a reduced chance of getting Metabolic Syndrome. This group had reduced oxygen related cell damage, reduced resistance to the effects of insulin and a reduction in chronic inflammation. All good news for nut fans!

health benefits of nuts

health benefits of nuts

The health benefits of nuts – Trying to lose weight?

Nuts are a great snack to include into your weight loss plan. High in protein and fibre, they’ll fill you up and stop you getting the munchies. To reap the health benefits of nuts without piling on the pounds – moderation is the key. Very moorish, and high in fat (the good kind), so measure out the amount first and stick to it. A grab handful (30g) is a good guide. Eating pistachios or peanuts in their shells is also a good way of slowing you down . Watch for those added extras – such as salt and sugar. Go for au naturel nuts where ever possible to get the maximum health benefits of nuts.

Nutty Nutrition – The health benefits of nuts

All nuts are a great source of nutrition, packed full of protein, fibre, magnesium, manganese, zinc and phosphorus and are a particularly good source of nutrition for vegetarians and vegans. So if you’ve reduced the amount of meat in your diet……..keep reading

Here are some of my nutty nutritional favourites:

Almonds

Almonds are a great source of the fat soluble Vitamin E. Thought to improve immune function and a powerful antioxidant – helping to protect our cells from free radical damage. Research is currently increasingly showing Vitamin E’s potential role in preventing conditions such as Heart Disease and Cancer.

Peanuts

Officially not a nut. But with it’s nutrition and it’s name, it has made it onto my list! Peanuts are a particularly good source of protein – required by every cell in the body and crucial in the structure of our muscles. Protein promotes satiety (the feeling of being ‘full up’), so a handful of peanuts is a great mid morning snack to keep you going until lunchtime. Peanut butter is also a quick and easy way to get your hands on this protein. Make a simple peanut butter buttie, use as a dip on celery or apple slices or for a slightly less healthy (but very delicious) looking option – try these peanut butter cookies, with a mystery ingredient!

Walnuts

Walnuts are a great vegetarian source of the Omega 3 essential fatty acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Our bodies can’t make ALA, so it is ‘essential’ that we get them from our diet. These essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, offering health benefits to a number of chronic diseases such as Heart Disease, Diabetes and Arthritis. Walnuts are again a great snack item, but also try adding a handful or two to cake recipes.

health benefits of nuts

health benefits of nuts

Brazil nuts

Selenium is a mineral found in Brazil nuts. Selenium levels in UK soil are low, therefore locally grown foods have reduced amounts of this mineral. Selenium is an antioxidant, and helps your immune system and thyroid gland work well. There is also a small amount of research suggesting that it may help to prevent some Cancers. Exciting stuff! Chopped brazil nuts offer a great addition to any baking recipe  or how about adding them to a veggie burger recipe?

Cashew nuts

Cashew nuts, as well as many other nuts are a great source of Magnesium – a mineral needed daily for good health.  Magnesium helps the body to take the energy from food to make new proteins, keeping your muscles and nerves healthy. Cashew nuts also boast a great Zinc content. A mineral that aids normal growth and development throughout your life. Zinc helps your body use other nutrients, supports the immune system and aids wound healing. Important for reproductive function, so if you’re trying for a baby and want the health benefits of nuts? – chuck a handful of cashews into your stir fry.

Get creative in the kitchen and let me know how you get nutty nutrition into your recipes – leave a comment below and get the health benefits of nuts?

 

photo by: IainBuchanan
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Registered Dietitian and owner of The Internet Dietitian.com. Passionate about family nutrition and the dietary treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Busy mum of 3 little uns. Cheshire, UK

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