(Natural News) Once deemed unhealthy due to being high in fat, nuts are now viewed as anything but. It’s these fats, along with many other essential nutrients, that have made nuts a staple in the diets of many health-conscious individuals. Nuts may be small but they pack an impressive nutritional punch.
Though the nutritional values differ with each type of nut, they all tend to be abundant in three key nutrients: Fats, fiber, and protein. The fats are the most noteworthy since these are healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. When eaten in place of saturated fats, both fats can lower cholesterol levels and, in turn, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. While monounsaturated fats can regulate heart rhythm and lower inflammation, polyunsaturated fats boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
Nuts contain a few saturated fats too, but it’s not enough to actively counteract the tremendous health benefits of the healthy fats. In fact, there have been numerous studies carried out over the years that suggested nuts do indeed have a noticeable impact on health.
According to Psychology Today, at least three studies have pointed to nuts lessening total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol levels, by a considerable margin. Yet another has stated that the number of nuts consumed may be more important than the type of nut. The participants who ate 100 g of nuts each day were able to lower their LDL cholesterol by as much as 35 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
But that’s not all. A recent study noted that eating nuts may lower one’s chances of numerous heart conditions, namely atrial fibrillation and potentially heart failure. The findings of this study are less definitive but no less promising. The same can be said of a 2014 study which reported that a positive link between nut consumption and the lowered risk of coronary artery disease. (Related: It’s Official : Regular Nut Consumption Prevents Disease, Trims Waistline, Extends Life Span.)
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Naturally, nuts aren’t the end-all answer to optimal heart health. They have to be part of a healthy lifestyle that includes a diverse, wholesome diet and regular exercise. If this is you and you already eat nuts regularly, then continue to do so and enjoy the benefits of these miniature powerhouses. If you haven’t yet made nuts a daily food, then now’s your chance. And if you’re unsure of which ones to add, the list below features some of the most nutritious nuts:
- Almonds: In addition to being relatively high in fiber, almonds are also a delicious way to get your recommended daily intake of vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds can encourage the growth of friendly gut bacteria as well.
- Brazil nuts: These nuts are an excellent source of the antioxidant-acting mineral selenium. A single-ounce serving of Brazil nuts is more than enough to meet your total recommended daily intake of selenium.
- Macadamia nuts: Although quite high in calories, macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats as well.
- Walnuts: A truly heart-healthy nut. Walnuts are said to improve blood pressure and normalize blood flow. Moreover, walnuts are often regarded as one of the best nuts for brain health thanks to their abundance of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid.
Enhance your diet by going to Health.news for more news stories and guides on nuts and other nutrient-rich foods.