Superfood Spotlight: Nuts a Healthy Part of Your Diet

December 2, 2013

Health Benefits of NutsGo nuts! Nuts get a bad rap in the dieting world because they are high in calories. It???s true that consuming too many calories per day leads to weight gain, but not all calories are created equal. Nuts pack a nutritional punch that add variety to your diet and can help ward off deadly diseases.

Nuts can help you live longer. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found nut consumption was associated with improved mortality. Researchers followed up with more than 3 million people and found higher nut consumption was inversely related with total mortality among men and women. The news gets better: The study also found those who included nuts in their diet most frequently had a reduced risk of death from cancer and heart disease.

They can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts reduced the incidence of heart attack and stroke in high-risk patients by about 30 percent. Eating a healthy amount of nuts on a daily basis can help balance out blood sugar spikes that can lead to cravings. Giving into these cravings too often put your at risk for more serious health problems like type 2 diabetes.

Nuts help lower cholesterol. Researchers at Loma Linda University found eating one-third a cup of nuts daily lowered total cholesterol by 5.1 percent. More importantly, those who ate nuts lowered the bad, LDL cholesterol by 7.4 percent. High levels of LDL cholesterol clog your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease. Munch on your personal favorite???the majority of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, macadamias, had cholesterol-lowering effects.

Nuts can curb your appetite. A 1-ounce serving of nuts packs in between 4 and 6 grams of protein. A high-protein diet will help curb your appetite while maintaining muscle mass, which is important because a higher muscle mass speeds up your metabolism. A small serving of protein goes a long way in keeping you full.

Although nuts have a long list of health benefits, calories are still calories, and keeping an open jar at your desk spells trouble for your weight loss plan. Separate into single-portion Ziploc bags to prevent yourself from overdoing it. Not only do nuts make a great snack, they also are delicious sprinkled on salads or added to your favorite soup for some extra crunch!

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