Substituting unhealthy snacks for nuts will not only ensure you get better nutrients, it will also help you live longer, researchers say. Multiple studies were conducted on the subject, all showing numerous health advantages of eating nuts.
Nuts Linked to Longevity
One of the largest studies on the health benefits of nuts was completed by Harvard scientists and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November, spanning 30 years and including 119,000 participants. People eating nuts almost daily were 20% less likely to die during the study period. The risk of death from heart disease was 29% lower, and the risk of dying from cancer was reduced by 11%. Nut eaters were also able to maintain a healthier weight as compared to those who didn’t consume this healthy snack. The participants were eating various tree nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts and almonds, as well as legumes like peanuts. Researchers did not take into consideration how the nuts were prepared.
Consumers Take Note
The Snacking in America report published by The NPD Group at the end of November showed that people are taking note of these benefits. According to the report, nuts rank as one of the top 10 snack foods among heath-motivated U.S. consumers. The research found that 77% of U.S. household had nuts or seeds on hand, and 19% of individual consumers ate nuts at least once every two weeks.
Which Nuts to Eat
To help you decide which nuts will be most beneficial for your particular diet and health needs, here’s a quick breakdown of some of the advantages you can get from the most popular types.
Almonds (buy on Amazon – affiliate link) are rich in magnesium, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. A study in the Fitness magazine showed that they also help block the absorption of calories by the body. You can get 37% of your daily Vitamin E requirement from one ounce of almonds, as well as a good amount of fiber and calcium. The flavonoids in almonds are antioxidants that also reduce inflammation, fight viruses and provide antitumor benefits.
Pistachios (buy on Amazon – affiliate link) are lower in calories than many other nuts, yet they are packed with great nutrients. One ounce of these nuts provides 25% of the daily requirement for vitamin B-6, 15% for thiamine and phosphorus, and 10% for magnesium. Studies have shown that pistachios help lower cholesterol when consumed regularly. They also have a lot of antioxidants, particularly zeaxanthin and lutein, which are responsible for healthy vision.
Walnuts (buy on Amazon – affiliate link) are packed with alpha-Linolenic acid, a beneficial omega 3 fatty acid generally found in fish. ALA helps control glucose and strengthen the bones. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, which help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries.
Pecans (buy on Amazon – affiliate link) have more antioxidants than any other type of nut. They are also a great alternative source of zinc for those who don’t eat animal-based foods.
Pine Nuts (buy on Amazon – affiliate link) do a great job at suppressing appetite, so try adding some to your salads for a more satiating meal. They are also rich in lutein, as well as Vitamins A, D and C.
Whatever types of nuts you choose for your snacking needs, keep in mind that although they have a lot of health benefits, they are still high in calories – on average 160 to 200 per ounce, which means they should be eaten in moderation. Nutritionists recommend eating nuts in a raw or dry roasted form to maximize the health benefits.
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