When it comes to health, nuts have been heralded as a must-consume food. Not only are they packed with cardiovascular benefits, nuts contain protein and even fiber. Plus, they’re filling.
Just make sure you don’t have a nut allergy before you add nuts to your life. Nuts are often considered to be one of the “big eight” allergens (dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish). The effects can be downright dangerous.
If you’re not allergic to nuts, check out these six healthy nuts everyone should be eating. Your body will say “va-va-voom.”
Looking to improve cardiovascular health? Give almonds a try.
Almonds and a healthy heart go hand in hand. According to Science Daily, research shows that the consumption of almonds helps to increase the health of blood vessels. A study conducted at Aston University sought to see how a short-term almond-enriched diet would affect both healthy young men and young men with cardiovascular risk factors. When compared to a control group, the men who consumed the almond-enriched diet exhibited higher blood levels of antioxidants. In addition, the men exhibited improved blood flow and reduced blood pressure. Consequently, study authors confirmed the belief that almonds are a superfood.
A great way to make almonds a part of your diet is to add them to salads. In addition, you can eat them on the go. Just a handful will provide ample nutritional benefits.
Walnuts are truly a nutritional great. And evidence backs this up.
For starters, walnuts may be helpful in slowing the growth of cancer. One particular study found that the growth rate of colorectal tumors was nearly 30 percent slower in walnut-fed mice when compared to mice that were fed corn. And the final recorded tumor weight was reduced by more than thirty percent.
Plus, walnuts are packed with nutrition. According to Authority Nutrition, walnuts outrank many nuts when it comes to polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, of all nuts, they’re the only to contain significant amounts of omega-3. Plus, they contain copper, folic acid, phosphorous, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E.
Walnuts may also be helpful when it comes to brain health. According to Prevention, one study reported that when walnuts were eaten as a part of a Mediterranean diet, brain function improved. In addition, walnuts may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Walnuts can be added to vegetables, like green beans. Or they can be added to salads. Just make sure to avoid sugar-coated walnuts, as too much sugar is definitely not a health benefit.
Cashews are a common coffee table snack with a reputation for being a crowd pleaser. And they’re healthy too.
One of the most interesting benefits of cashews comes in the way of depression management. Cashews contain something called tryptophan. According to Men’s Journal, research shows that foods containing tryptophan may be helpful in treating depression. "Several handfuls of cashews provide 1,000-2,000 milligrams of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressants," Dr. Andrew Saul, a therapeutic nutritionist and editor-in-chief of Orthomolecular Medicine News Service tells Men’s Journal. This is because tryptophan can be converted to serotonin, which is the “feel good” hormone. In addition, cashews are loaded with magnesium and vitamin B6. Both of these components can be good for the mood.
Cashews can be eaten plain or added to healthy stir fry dishes. They can even be added to your favorite chicken salad recipe. And, of course, they make for a great coffee table treat.
Experts say that pistachios are beneficial to health for a number of reasons. First, pistachios are rich in nutrition. According to the International Life Sciences Institute, not only do pistachios contain “good fats,” they also contain protein, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, y-tocopherol and vitamin K. And of all nuts, these powerhouses have more potassium, y-tocopherol, and vitamin K than others. Plus they contain lutein, which is beneficial to eye health. Pistachios may even be helpful in managing metabolic syndrome. One study conducted on Asian Indian men found that pistachios had positive effects on cardiometabolic profiles. And like many nuts, pistachios have cardiovascular benefits. Plus, some think they can aid in weight loss.
Pistachios are yummy when eaten on the go. Just grab a handful and snack on them on the way to your next appointment. In addition, they can be added to chicken and even salmon dishes.
5. Brazil Nuts
According to Eat This Not That, though these nuts are tiny in size, they pack a mighty punch. The experts at Eat This Not That say this is because Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium, noting that this mineral is important when it comes to metabolism, immunity, reproductive health, and aiding the body in absorbing vitamin E. In addition, these nuts contain copper, potassium, riboflavin, “good fats,” and magnesium. However, experts caution consumers not to eat too many of these nuts. Just one or two are said to contain all the selenium you need in a day, and too much selenium isn’t good for you.
Brazil nuts are often added to vegetable dishes and cookies. Just be sure to use a recipe if you aren’t experienced in cooking with Brazil nuts.
6. Macadamia Nuts
Many people reach for macadamia nuts because they leave an impressionably sweet taste in the mouth. However, they’re also pretty darned good for you.
According to Nutrition and You, macadamia nuts have two highly positive qualities. They’re high in fiber AND cholesterol free. In addition, they contain phytosterols. Experts say that phytosterols actually keep the body from absorbing cholesterol. Phytosterols may even lower LDL cholesterol levels.
In addition, macadamia nuts possess many nutritional benefits. They contain calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. They are also a source of selenium, which has been associated with cardiovascular benefits. And they’re loaded with B vitamins like: niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine and riboflavin.
When it comes to eating macadamia nuts, one thing probably comes to mind: macadamia nut cookies. However, there are other healthier ways to reap the benefits of macadamia nuts. They can be added to salads and fruit dishes. And they can even be eaten plain.
So go nuts!