Better person? Well, that may be stretching it just a tad. But it is true that a regular consumption of nuts can have a myriad of benefits for your health and wellbeing.
Nuts are rich in vital nutrients like magnesium and Vitamin E, as well as healthy fats—not to mention making a delicious and satisfying snack. So, there’s no need to feel guilty about indulging in some cashews or almonds each afternoon, as you could be supercharging your health in the process.
Nuts have also been shown to aid in weight loss, reduce heart disease risk and even protect against diabetes.
Here are four more reasons why nuts are insanely good for you…
They reduce your risk of heart disease
Back in 2001, researchers at Penn State University concluded that peanuts and tree nuts offer a strong protective factor against coronary heart disease. They found that those eating nuts more than five times per week enjoyed up to 39 per cent reduction in the risk of developing the condition.
More recently, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that nut consumption has a protective effect on cardiovascular health and chronic disease, which researchers believe could be due to their antioxidant properties. However, it’s not as simple as just adding nuts into your existing diet—Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton—who co-authored the Penn State study, says people should be replacing calories and saturated fat that’s currently being consumed, with nuts—such as replacing margarine with an all-natural nut butter.
They protect against diabetes
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston discovered that women who regularly consumed walnuts (one to three times per week) were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never or rarely ate them. Type 2 diabetes can lead to many other nasty health problems, including ulcers, amputations and even blindness—so what better excuse to go back for another handful? Add some to your stir-fry tonight for some extra crunchy goodness.
They can assist with weight loss
Some studies show that nut lovers have lower BMIs than non-nut eaters. A Penn State study also revealed that diet regimes that include nuts are easier to stick to long-term. Which nuts are the best to snack on when trying to drop some kilograms? Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium, which plays a key role in metabolic and reproductive health, while walnuts are one of the best dietary sources of polyunsaturated fats—something that has been shown to reduce fat storage. Keep a container of these babies in your handbag when you’re out and about, or blitz them together with some coconut oil, honey and cocoa for a healthy sweet treat.
They could cut your cancer risk
Nuts are rich in several nutrients that are believed to reduce your likelihood of developing cancer. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), Vitamin E, selenium, polyphenols and folic acid are just a few of the cancer-fighting components of nuts, according to Spanish scientists. These nutrients give nuts their antioxidant properties, and also help to regulate cell differentiation, repair DNA damage, and regulate inflammatory responses in the body—all of which are believed to prevent cancer. According to their research, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts have the best combinations of these cancer-crushing nutrients.
So, chop up a handful of nuts and add to brownies, cookies or protein balls, and enjoy your treat with an extra health boost.