Are You Ready To Go Nuts?

March 26, 2019

 

 

If you are looking for nature's perfect food, look at Nuts.  They are rich in vitamins and minerals, low in carbohydrates, and high in fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fats. 

They should be a vital part of any healthy  diet.

 

Let's take a look at some of the different types of nuts and how they promote better health.

 

Almonds

Almonds are the edible seeds of the almond tree and, among all nuts, have the highest calcium content. Native to the Middle East, almonds are low in carbs, but high in fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium; and rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Almonds reduce cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin resistance, and thus diminish the risk of both heart disease and diabetes.

They are rich in magnesium and help to control blood pressure.

Their brown skin is rich in antioxidants, thus reducing inflammation and oxidative damage, as well as decreases postprandial glycemia and insulinemia.

Almonds also contain a lot of phosphorus, which helps to maintain bone strength and prevents conditions such as osteoporosis.  

 

Cashews

Cashews come from the cashew tree, a tropical evergreen native to northeastern Brazil. These nuts contain high levels of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and manganese.

They are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids that can reduce triglyceride levels and promote healthy levels of HDL cholesterol. Like olive oil, cashews contain oleic acid, an unsaturated fat. Rich in copper, cashews can also help prevent cancer, promote good heart and brain health, strong bones, and healthy skin.

 

Walnuts

Walnuts are not considered true botanical nuts because, technically, they are the seeds of a stone fruit. Nevertheless, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols. Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol, and compete with it for absorption, thus help to decrease bad LDL cholesterol.

Elderly subjects who consumed walnuts, especially those with mild hypertension, had a reduction in systolic blood pressure.

In a recent analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers found that eating walnuts was associated with a lower prevalence and frequency of depression and brain degeneration, like Alzheimer's dementia.

The fatty-acid profile of walnuts is different than that of other tree nuts, because it contains primarily polyunsaturated fats, including a significant amount of anti-inflammatory and heart healthy omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid—more than any other nut.

 

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts come from Brazil nut trees. These nuts have an almost creamy taste, and are rich in selenium, a mineral that plays a role as an antioxidant and can even help to improve kidney health, immune and thyroid function, increased blood flow and sperm motility.

 

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are native to Australia. With a rich, buttery flavor, these nuts provide high levels of flavonoids, that are converted into anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Like almonds, macadamia nuts improve heart health.

 

Pecans

Pecans come from pecan trees. They are loaded with manganese, which not only supports bone health, but may help ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Manganese can reduce mood swings and cramps, and does this best when taken with calcium.

Like most nuts, pecans also contain polyphenols, which act like antioxidants. Another pecan-plus: they contain beta-sitosterol, which can help with an enlarged prostate and low testosterone.

 

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are the nuts of the hazel tree. They are also called filberts. Hazelnuts have the highest level of vitamin E, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails, and can also protect against cognitive decline, inflammation and fatty liver disease.

They are also rich in unsaturated fats, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B. Thus, they promote good heart health, may reduce the risk of cancer, and help with muscle, skin, bone, joint, and digestive health.

Hazelnuts also contain thiamine, crucial to both nerve function and cognitive function. Finally, hazelnuts contain folate, which can help prenatal spine and brain development.

 

Peanuts

Peanuts are not nuts, but legumes. They are similar in taste and nutritional profile to tree nuts, and are usually served in similar ways to walnuts and almonds in Western cuisine.

Compared with nuts, peanuts contain a higher amount of folate, which is vital to proper brain development. Because of this, increased folate intake can help reduce the risk of birth defects. Peanuts can also boost memory, as well as decrease depression and the risk of heart disease.

 

The latest study looked at consumption of nuts by patients with diabetes.  Higher consumption of nuts, especially tree nuts, was associated with lower cardiovascular incidence and mortality among participants. This data provided novel evidence that supports the recommendation of incorporating nuts into healthy dietary patterns for the prevention of heart disease, stroke complications and premature deaths among individuals with diabetes mellitus.

 

In addition, increased nut consumption before and after diabetes mellitus diagnosis was also associated with a lower risk of subsequent cardiovascular events and death.

 

Please enjoy your nuts as a snack, as an addition to a salad or any other dish, as a dessert, or even as a meal replacement.

 

For more advice on healthy eating please schedule and appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000 or https://www.NewtownInternalMedicine.com

 

References:

[1] David J. A. Jenkins, et al. Almonds Decrease Postprandial Glycemia, Insulinemia, and Oxidative Damage in Healthy Individuals, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 12, 1 December 2006, Pages 2987–2992, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.12.2987

[2] Mónica Domènech, et al.  Effect of a Walnut Diet on Office and 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Elderly Individuals. Findings From the WAHA Randomized Trial. Hypertension. 2019;73:00-00. DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12766.

[3] Arab L, et al. Lower Depression Scores among Walnut Consumers in NHANES. Nutrients. 2019; 11(2):275

[4] Nutrition and You (2012). Cashew nut nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cashew_nut.html

[5] MacMillan, A.  Best and worst nuts for your health. Health. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20585485,00.html

[6] Gang Liu, et al. Nut Consumption in Relation to Cardiovascular Disease Incidence and Mortality Among Patients With Diabetes Mellitus. Circ Res. 2019;124:920-929. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.314316.

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