Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tip #34: Get a little "nutty"

What is delicious, inexpensive, convenient, varied and, as it turns out, really good for you? Well, that would be nuts, any kind.If you like them, and eat them regularly, you are in luck, according to the latest research I have been able to find.

Nuts seem particularly helpful to prevent heart disease. As seen in this article, they can lower your LDL cholesterol, can also reduce the risk of developing blood clots, and also improve the health of the lining of the arteries

And here, we read that even "by themselves, nuts seem to produce modest declines in cholesterol, but when they are combined with other healthful foods, the results can be spectacular," including helping with irregular heart rhythms and improving blood vessel function. They have also been found helpful in relation to metabolic syndrome as we see in this article.

I found particularly interesting this article that talks about the risk factors for mortality in more than 50,000 participants from the famous Harvard Nurses Health Study. Among the few factors that helped lower the incidence of mortality was the consumption of at least two servings of nuts a week (a serving = one ounce). I found strange that eating fruits and vegetables actually did not even make it to the list, in this case. Dr. Greger has a great video about the article: "What women should eat to live longer." And here's one more article that touches on the same idea of nut consumption to increase longevity.

Although nuts are very high in fat content, they don't seem to make you gain weight, but actually can do the opposite (frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain). I still think it is best to not eat them in excess, mostly because of their high content of Omega 6 fatty acids (with the exception of walnuts) which can cause inflammation. I do eat them quite frequently as a snack or, mostly, as part of my homemade salad dressings or desserts, but not in huge quantities (except when I make a nut based cake to celebrate something).

My beloved Dr. Greger has a great series about them here, if you are interested.

Do you eat nuts regularly? Let me know!

photo credit: s58y via photo pin cc