Nuts are some of the most popular foods you can snack on or use in various recipes. Besides their fantastic taste, experts laud them for their impressive benefits to the body. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of eating nuts.
What Are Nuts?
Nuts come in various forms, enclosed in inedible seed kernels that you must crack or peel. You can also buy them from stores pre-shelled, ready for consumption. Thanks to their distinct flavor, they are tasty treats that can be eaten entirely or used as recipe ingredients.
They are also known for their high-fat content, making them some of the most nutritious foods. The most common types include walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans. The famous peanuts are usually known as nuts but are technically legumes, like beans.
8 Health Benefits of Nuts
Below are some key health benefits of nuts when you take them in moderation.
1. High in Nutrients
Eating nuts provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals. They are rich in fat, magnesium, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin E (antioxidant compounds that help fight cancer), and several other critical nutrients.
Additionally, nuts are low on sugar and carbs, making them suitable for low-carb diets. However, note that some nuts provide more nutrients than others; for instance, while hazelnuts have lower than 2g of carbs in a serving, cashews have about 8g.
2. High in Healthy Fats
All nuts except chestnuts are rich in fat, varying from 40-75% based on the form. Fortunately, these fats are healthy, non-saturated alternatives perfect for your heart and overall health.
Cashews have 46% fat content, while macadamias contain 76%, but walnuts stand out thanks to their high omega-3 fatty acid and ALA (Alpha lipoic acid) content. Therefore, nuts are suitable options for those on strict plant-based diets.
3. Loaded with Dietary Fibers
Nuts are also a rich fiber source, which is healthy for the digestive system. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios have the highest levels out of other nuts and are the best choices to improve your gut health.
The polyphenols in the food fuel the bacteria in the tract, increasing their numbers and functioning, maintaining a healthier system. Roasted assorted nuts are tastier, easier to digest, and help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.
4. Antioxidant Rich
The high antioxidant content is one of the benefits of nuts. Polyphenols are effective against oxidative stress, given how they neutralize free radicals (molecules that increase the risk of getting sick or cause cell damage).
Nuts are more capable of combating these free radicals than fish, making them beneficial in the fight against chronic diseases.
5. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Adding nuts to your diet is healthy for your heart by lowering the risk of stroke and reducing the chances of disease. This feature balances cholesterol levels, which helps achieve low deposit build-up, lowers the chances of fatal blood clots, and assists with healthier artery lining.
Nut benefits the heart thanks to the unsaturated fat and high fiber content. Additionally, the foods contain phytosterols and l-arginine proteins that help reduce blood pressure.
6. Helps in Weight Management
This feature may seem contradictory given that nuts are rich in fat, which helps in weight gain. Unlike other sources, nuts contain almost fully unsaturated fats, meaning that they leave you feeling full afterward, reducing how much you eat later.
People who take more nuts are less likely to gain weight than those obtaining fat from other food sources. Interestingly, although they are rich in calories, some fat sticks in the nuts during digestion, reducing the level your body absorbs.
7. Improves Cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels are linked to a high risk of heart disease and stroke. Luckily, frequently eating nuts is essential in regulating and reducing the body’s LDL cholesterol levels. By regulating the toxin levels, nuts become a vital part of the diet, helping you improve your health.
8. Reduces Inflammation in Your Body
Nuts contain high levels of unsaturated fat and essential nutrients that help reduce inflammation. They also have a high l-arginine, Vitamin E, magnesium, and ALA (alpha linoleic acid- an anti-inflammatory fatty acid) content.
Eating a handful of nuts daily helps control inflammation and lowers the body’s blood pressure and cholesterol. Experts recommend it for patients with arthritis, heart disease, and other illnesses.
The Most Popular Nut Types Include
You can find various nuts in grocery shops, but the following are some of the most common.
- Almonds- These hard, tasty nuts come from almond trees and make almond milk, oil, and flour.
- Peanuts- Although technically legumes, these are the most common nuts worldwide.
- Walnut- Wild, distorted, crunchy nuts with a sweet flavor.
- Pecans- They are crinkly, unlike other nuts but a must-have ingredient in baking.
- Hazelnuts- These crunchy treats are famous as one of the key ingredients that make Nutella.
- Brazil nuts- They come from the Brazil nut tree in the rainforest and taste buttery.
- Cashew- You can snack on the salty-butter goodness, consume them as milk, or add them to pastries.
- Pine Nuts- Some of the tiniest nuts on the list, known for their mild, sweet flavor.
- Pistachio- These green nuts lie underneath inedible brown crusts.
- Coconut – Many will be shocked to know that coconuts are also nuts. They are versatile foods that you can use in various recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nuts
Can Eating Too Many Nuts Be Bad For Your Health?
Nuts have several health benefits, but only if you eat them in moderation; excessive consumption of nuts can cause health problems, causing mild to severe symptoms. Additionally, high levels of l-arginine in nuts can cause mouth ulcers.
What Is the Number 1 Healthiest Nut?
Although all nuts are highly nutritious, almonds stand out as one of the healthiest. It contains the highest fiber content at 3g an ounce and is the best source of vitamin E. It explains why almond milk and nuts are favorites for those on plant-based diets.
Do Nuts Make You Gain Weight?
Nuts have high fat and calorie levels but are unrelated to weight gain. Fats are unsaturated and healthier for the body, and since they make you feel full faster, they can help you reduce weight instead.
Can You Eat Nuts Every day?
Eating nuts daily will benefit your body but only when in small amounts. You can eat a small handful daily but not too much; otherwise, it will cause intoxication and make you ill.
Nuts are some of the tastiest, most versatile foods you can eat or add to your cooking. They are also very healthy and rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers, all beneficial to the body. Consuming them helps reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
However, remember that nuts are healthy only when you eat them in moderation. Otherwise, excessive intake can cause mild or severe ailments given their high nutrient level.