Little do most people know that going (eating) “nuts” can do you more good than bad – nuts are actually protective against heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Research suggests that the combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals in nuts may reduce high cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and fight inflammation — all of which can help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Let’s look at the nutrition of these yummy, crunchy, longevity-boosting nuts:
Per 1-ounce serving:
160 calories 14 g fat
Almonds have nearly 9 times more healthy fat (monounsaturated fat) than the bad saturated fat. Not only are almonds rich in protein, dietary fibre, calcium, and iron, they are also one of the best sources of vitamin E, which protects against many cardiovascular diseases. For some added heart health benefits, swap flaked almonds for the whole nut because the almond’s skin is full of heart-protecting nutrients called flavonoids.
180 calories 17 g fat
Hazelnuts are packed with folate, a vitamin that protects against birth defects and plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels. Opt for hazelnuts if you are wary of the high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been associated with heart problems and Parkinsons disease.
200 calories 20 g fat
Pecans are packed with plant sterols, which helps lower cholesterol. They are also rich in oleic acid (healthy fat found in olives and avocados) – a good choice for fighting high cholesterol as they are high in unsaturated fat and lower in bad saturated fat compared with other nuts.
160 calories 13 g fat
Pistachios contain fewer calories but more potassium per serving than any other nut. They are also rich in vitamin B6 and dietary fibre. On top of that, they are the only nut to contain good amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play an important role in protecting the eyes.
190 calories 18 g fat
Walnuts are packed with the same heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids that are in oily fish, so they are a great alternative if you don’t eat oily fish. They also have an abundance of polyunsaturated fat, which may protect against diabetes.
Simple ways to “go nuts”:
- Top your morning cereal/oatmeal/yoghurt with almonds
- Scoop a tablespoon of nut butter into your favourite smoothie
- Spread nut butter on whole wheat toast
- Toss slivered almonds into your salad
- Sprinkle nuts into pancakes and waffles
- Mix almonds or cashews in with your go-to snack mix
- Cook Brussels sprouts and broccoli with hazelnuts