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Don't let concerns over extra calories prevent you from enjoying the many health benefits of wholesome nuts

  

by Tony Isaacs

(The Best Years in Life) Wholesome nuts offer a world of health benefits, but many people avoid them due to concerns that the extra calories in nuts are potentially fattening. Such concerns could easily be addressed by substituting nuts for another menu item or else cutting down on other menu item portions. Cutting back on other food items may be easier than you think: recent studies have found that eating nuts actually helps curb appetite due to nuts increasing serotonin levels. Nuts also have plenty of fiber which makes you feel fuller.

Nuts are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and more and they offer a wide variety of health benefits, particularly for the heart and cardiovascular system. The plentiful fiber found in nuts is heart healthy and is thought to play a role in preventing diabetes. Nuts are also rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and they contain vitamin E, which may help stop the development of plaque in the arteries. Arterial plaque can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease, or a heart attack.

Nuts are also a source of l-arginine, a substance that improves artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots. Some nuts also contain healthy plant sterols.

The healthiest nuts

There are a lot of good choices when it comes to healthy nuts. Here are some of the best:

Walnuts

Walnuts may be considered the king of nuts for health benefits according to U.S. researchers. Walnuts contain the highest combination of more healthful and higher quality antioxidants. Antioxidants in walnuts were two to 15 times as potent as vitamin E - renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects which protect the body against free radical damage which causes disease. Reportedly, it only takes about seven walnuts a day to get their potential health benefits.

Almonds

Many studies have demonstrated the health benefits of almonds. Almonds are high in antioxidants, are a good source of protein and have ample amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron as well as vitamin E. Like other nuts, almonds also provide a good source of monounsaturated fat - the good fat that is needed for heart health.

  

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are another must. A recent study conducted at the University of Illinois suggested that Brazil nuts may play a vital role in preventing breast cancer. According to the scientists who carried out the study, this benefit is probably a result of the high amounts of selenium they contain.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize harmful free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and cancer - including breast, and lung, bowel, and prostate cancer.

Cashews

Cashew nuts are a significant source of iron, which is essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity. They also contain magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

Peanuts

Even though peanuts are not certifiably nuts, their nutritional properties resemble that of actual nuts so closely that they are commonly referred to as nuts. Peanuts are a great source of concentrated protein. They are also rich in potassium and are packed with vitamins, especially niacin and other B vitamins. The vitamins in peanuts help maintain healthy skin, hair, and muscle tone.

Additional notes:

Nut oils contain many, but not all, the benefits of raw nuts. Nut oils contain saturated as well as unsaturated fats. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, but lack the fiber found in whole nuts. Consider using nut oils in homemade salad dressing or in cooking. Nut oil, if overheated, can become bitter. Just like with nuts, nut oil is high in calories, thus it may be best to use nut oil in moderation.

For the best health benefits, nuts should be organic, non-irradiated, and raw.

Sources for this article included:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095222.htm
http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_100/100_eating_well.html
http://www.upi.com
http://www.shape.com
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125534
http://health.learninginfo.org/benefits-nuts.htm

About the author:

Tony Isaacs is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including Cancer's Natural Enemy.  Mr. Isaacs is a contributing author for SANEVAX and his articles are regularly featured at Natural News, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador online, AlignLife, the Cancer Tutor, the American Chronicle and several other venues. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 3500 members and the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May" forum.  Mr. Isaacs and his partner Luella May recently began hosting The Best Years in Life Radio Show on BlogTalk Radio.

 

    

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