8 Health Benefits of Nuts

Nuts are a very popular food.

They are tasty, convenient and can be enjoyed in all types of diets.

Despite being high in fat, they also have a number of impressive benefits for your health (and your weight).

What are nuts?

Walnuts are technically considered a fruit. However, unlike most types of fruit, they are not sweet and are high in fat.

They contain a hard, inedible outer shell that usually needs to be split to release the fruit inside.

Fortunately, you can buy most of the "precooked" store nuts so you do not have to open them on your own.

Here is a list of some of the most consumed nuts:

  • Almonds

  • Brazil nuts

  • Cashew nuts

  • Hazelnuts

  • Macadamia nuts

  • pecan nuts

  • pinions

  • Pistachios

  • Nuts

Although peanuts are technically pulses such as peas and beans, they are often called nuts because they have similar characteristics and nutritional profiles.

Now let's look at the 8 health benefits of eating nuts.

1. Nuts are a great source of many nutrients

The nuts are highly nutritious. One ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts contains (1):

  • Calories: 173

  • Protein: 5 grams

  • Grease: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat

  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams

  • Fiber: 3 grams

  • Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI

  • Magnesium: 16% of the RDI

  • Match: 13% of the RDI

  • Copper: 23% of the RDI

  • Manganese: 26% of the RDI

  • Selenium: 56% of the RDI

Some nuts have higher amounts of certain nutrients than others. For example, only one Brazil nut provides more than 100% of the RDI for selenium (2).

The carbohydrate content of nuts is very variable. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts have less than 2 grams of digestible carbohydrates per serving, while cashews have almost 8 digestible carbohydrates per serving.

That said, nuts are generally an excellent food to eat on a low carb diet.

Bottom line: Nuts are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and are a great source of various nutrients, such as vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

2. Nuts are loaded with antioxidants

Walnuts are an antioxidant power.

Antioxidants help control free radicals, which are unstable molecules produced as a normal part of metabolism. Free radical production increases in response to strong solar exposure, stress, pollution and other causes.

Although free radicals can play a beneficial role in the immune response, having too many can lead to cell damage. When your free radical level is too high, it is said that your body is in a state of oxidative stress, which increases the risk of disease (3).

Antioxidants in plant foods, including the polyphenols found in nuts, can combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals so they do not damage cells.

The ORAC is a test that measures the ability of a food to fight free radicals. One study found that nuts ORAC was greater than fish ORAC (4).

Research has shown that antioxidants in nuts and almonds can protect delicate fats from cells so that they are not damaged by oxidation (5, 6, 7).

In one study, 13 people consumed walnuts, almonds or a control meal on three different occasions. Both nut foods led to higher levels of polyphenol and significantly less oxidative damage compared to the control meal (7).

Another study found that between two and eight hours after consuming whole pecans, participants experienced a drop of 26 to 33% in their levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, an important risk factor for heart disease (8).

However, studies in elderly people and individuals with metabolic syndrome found that nuts and cashews did not have a great impact on antioxidant capacity, although some other markers did improve (9, 10).

Bottom line: Nuts contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which can protect cells and LDL cholesterol from damage.

3. Nuts can help you lose weight

Although they are considered a high-calorie food, research suggests that walnuts can help you lose weight.

A large study called the PREDIMED study evaluated the effects of the Mediterranean diet.

Analysis of data from a subgroup of the study found that those assigned to eat nuts lost an average of 2 inches (5 cm) from their waists, which is significantly more than those assigned to eat olive oil (11).

Almonds have been consistently shown to promote weight loss instead of weight gain in controlled studies. One study found that pistachios can also be useful for weight loss (12, 13, 14).

In a study of overweight women, those who consumed almonds lost almost three times more weight and experienced a significantly greater decrease in waist size compared to the control group (15).

Also, although the calorie counts listed for nuts are quite high, studies have shown that your body does not absorb them all. This is because a portion of fat remains trapped within the fibrous wall of the walnut during digestion (16, 17, 18).

For example, nutritional information in an almond package may indicate that a 1-ounce serving has 160-170 calories, but your body only absorbs approximately 129 of those calories (19).

Similarly, recent studies have found that your body absorbs approximately 21% fewer calories from nuts and 5% fewer calories from pistachios than previously reported (20, 21).

Bottom line: It has been shown that nuts help promote weight loss instead of contributing to weight gain. Several studies have found that the body does not absorb all the calories in the nuts.

4. Nuts can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides

Nuts have impressive effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

It has been shown that pistachios reduce triglycerides in obese people and diabetics. In a 12-week study, obese people who ate pistachios had triglycerides that were almost 33% lower than the control group (14, 22).

It is believed that the cholesterol lowering power of nuts is due in part to their high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Almonds and hazelnuts appear to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. One study found that ground, cut or whole hazelnuts had similar beneficial effects on cholesterol (23, 24, 25, 26).

Another study found that consuming a mixture of 1 ounce (30 grams) of nuts, peanuts and pine nuts per day for six weeks significantly reduced all types of cholesterol, except for HDL in a group of women with metabolic syndrome (27, 28 ).

Several studies have shown that macadamia nuts reduce cholesterol levels. In one, a moderate-fat diet that includes macadamia nuts reduced cholesterol as much as a low-fat diet (29, 30, 31, 32).

Bottom line: Nuts can help reduce total cholesterol and LDL and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol levels.

5. Nuts are beneficial for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that affects hundreds of millions of people.

Having a condition called metabolic syndrome is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, nuts can be one of the best foods for people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

First, they are low in carbohydrates and do not greatly increase blood sugar levels. The substitution of nuts for high carbohydrate foods should lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels.

Studies suggest that eating nuts can also reduce oxidative stress, blood pressure and other health markers in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome (33, 34, 35, 36, 37).

In a 12-week controlled study, people with metabolic syndrome who ate 25 grams of pistachios twice a day experienced a 9% decrease in fasting blood sugar, on average (37).

In addition, compared to the control group, the pistachio group had greater reductions in blood pressure and C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation related to heart disease.

However, the evidence is mixed and not all studies have found a benefit when eating nuts in people with metabolic syndrome (38).

Bottom line: Several studies have shown that blood sugar, blood pressure and other health markers improve when walnuts are included in the diets of people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

6. Nuts can help reduce inflammation

Walnuts have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Inflammation is the way your body defends itself against injuries, as well as bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens.

However, chronic (long-term) inflammation can cause organ damage and increase the risk of disease. Research suggests that eating nuts can reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging (39).

In the large Mediterranean diet study PREDIMED, participants whose diets were supplemented with walnuts experienced a 35% decrease in CRP and a 90% decrease in another marker of inflammation called interleukin 6 (IL-6) (40).

Specific nuts have been found to fight inflammation in healthy people and people with serious illnesses. These include pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds (25, 37, 41, 42, 43, 44).

However, a study on the consumption of almonds in healthy adults found that, although some inflammatory markers decreased, in general there was not much difference between the almond group and the control group (45).

Bottom line: Research suggests that nuts may be useful in reducing inflammation, especially in people with diabetes, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.

7. Nuts are high in fiber

Fiber provides many health benefits.

Although your body can not digest fiber, bacteria that live in your colon can.

Many types of fiber work as prebiotics or "foods" for healthy intestinal bacteria.

Their intestinal bacteria then ferment the fiber and convert it into beneficial short chain fatty acids (SCFA).

These SCFAs have powerful benefits, including improving intestinal health and reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity (46, 47, 48).

In addition, fiber helps you feel full and reduces the amount of calories you absorb from meals. One study suggests that increasing fiber intake from 18 to 36 grams per day can result in up to 130 fewer calories being absorbed (49, 50).

Here are the nuts with the highest fiber content per 1 ounce serving (28 grams):

  • Almonds: 3.5 grams

  • Pistachios: 2.9 grams

  • Hazelnuts: 2.9 grams

  • Pecan nuts: 2.9 grams

  • Misery: 2.6 grams

  • Macadamias: 2.4 grams

  • Brazil nuts: 2.1 grams

Bottom line: Many nuts have a high fiber content, which can reduce the risk of disease, help keep you full, decrease calorie absorption and improve intestinal health.

8. Nuts can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

Nuts are extremely good for your heart.

Several studies suggest that walnuts help to decrease heart disease and the risk of stroke due to its benefits for cholesterol levels, LDL particle size, arterial function and inflammation (11, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57).

Studies have found that small, dense LDL particles may increase the risk of heart disease more than larger LDL particles (58, 59).

The PREDIMED study found that the group that consumed walnuts had a significant decrease in small LDL particles and an increase in large LDL particles. In addition, their HDL ("good") cholesterol levels increased (11).

In another study, people with high or normal cholesterol were randomly assigned to consume olive oil or nuts with a high-fat meal.

People in the nut group had a better artery function and less fasting triglycerides than the olive oil group, regardless of their initial cholesterol levels (51).

Bottom line: Nuts can significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. This is because walnuts increase the size of LDL particles, increase HDL cholesterol, improve the function of the arteries and have other benefits for heart health.

The nuts are delicious, versatile and widely available

The nuts are undeniably tasty and satisfying.

They can be enjoyed whole, like butters or chopped and sprinkled on food.

Actually, it is quite easy to make your own homemade nut butter with the nut combination that you like.

Nuts can be purchased at grocery stores or online. They are available in a wide variety of options, including salty or unsalted, seasoned or plain, raw or roasted.

In general, it is healthier to eat raw or roasted nuts in the oven at a temperature below 350 ° F (175 ° C). Dry-roasted nuts are the best choice, but try to avoid roasted nuts in vegetable and seed oils.

The nuts can be kept at room temperature, which makes them ideal for snacks and take-away trips. However, if you are going to store them for a long time, then a refrigerator or freezer will keep them fresh.

At the end of the day, nuts are a very nutritious and super tasty food that can fit into the diet of almost everyone.

Eating nuts on a regular basis is a very nice way to improve your health.

You may also like:

  • The 9 best nuts to eat for better health

  • 10 high-fat foods that are really healthy

  • 9 Health benefits based on evidence of almonds

  • The 20 most friendly foods to lose weight on the planet

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts


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