Are Nuts Healthy?

health benefits of nuts

Nuts are impressively nutrient-dense, so they make for a great snack when you’re on the go. If you run out of energy while you’re out cycling, a handful of nuts can be just the thing to put you back in the saddle. They’re compact, tasty, and don’t make a mess.

But, which nuts are the best for you? Understanding the wide array of foods that are packed with nutritional value is becoming more available to the average person nowadays.  However, professionals should still be counted on to provide proper guidance and instruction when using a food in a medical sense.  Nursing programs have begun to teach more food science than ever before.

Walnuts are packed with antioxidants, with reduce inflammation, and protect your body from an impressive lineup of debilitating diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. They also contain omega-3s, and manganese.

Almonds are great for your digestive system. They have a ton of dietary fiber. They’re also rich in vitamin E, which keeps your skin healthy. Plus, they can help lower LDL, and studies have shown that they increase the levels of beneficial gut fauna in the human body.

Cashews have plenty of zinc, which is good for vision and enhances the body’s immune system, and iron, which wards off anemia.

Brazil nuts have selenium to spare. Just one single Brazil nut has all the selenium your body needs. Selenium is thought to prevent certain types of cancers.

Macadamia nuts are the go-to for reducing triglyceride levels in the blood. They’re rich monounsaturated fats, which work to clear the artery-clogging kind out of the bloodstream.

Pistachios may help reduce lung cancer risk, because they’re rich in gamma-tocopherol. Plus, they’re full of vitamin B6 and potassium. They’re the nut of choice for those trying to watch their diets, for two reasons: one, the nuts only have about three calories each, and two, you have to work for them, assuming you buy them in the shell.

What about peanuts? We know they’re not nuts, smarty-pants. They’re actually legumes. Haha. Beat you to it.

But for most of us, peanuts are consumed in much the same manner as “true” nuts: as an on-the-go snack, they’re great. So, what about them?

Well, they’re actually nutritionally similar to other nuts in many ways. They have antioxidants, such as resveratol. Plus, they’re higher in protein than most other nuts, and they have lots of vitamin E.

So, yes nuts are healthy. But because many are very calorically dense, it’s a smart idea not to go too nuts for nuts. You might end up ruining your appetite for dinner.

And, it’s probably best to go with lightly salted, unsalted or raw nuts, most of the time. We know, we know… candied pecans are delicious. So are smoked almonds, wasabi cashews, and honey sesame almonds. But, they have a ton of salt and/or sugar, which are best used in moderation.

[Photo Credit: blogs.thenews]

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