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Oh nuts! All about this healthy food group

by Margery Gass | Apr 10, 2014

A handful of nuts is a convenient snack -- here’s how to make the best of it by choosing the best types of nuts and the healthiest ways to eat them!

Just the Facts
Most varieties of nuts are high in unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols, and L-arginine. They’re also high in fat and calories (lowest in calories are almonds, cashews, pistachios, while highest in calories are macademia nuts and pecans). Almonds are the nuts highest in calcium.

For Heart Health
Studies including the Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study have shown a consistent 30% to 50% lower risk of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, and cardiovascular disease associated with eating nuts several times per week. 

The best nuts for your heart are walnuts. They contain high amounts of alpha linoleic acid, which has been found to be as effective as olive oil in reducing inflammation and oxidation after a fatty meal, per a 2006 Spanish study. Eating nuts has also been shown to lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level in the blood and improve the health of the lining of your arteries.

Snacking Ideas
Eat them raw or dry, not packaged or roasted in oil (nutrients can be destroyed by high roasting temperatures and oil used may be the unhealthy hydrogenated variety or high in omega-6 unhealthy fats.

Because of their high calorie content, you should use nuts as a substitute for saturated fats such as those in meats, eggs, and dairy. A serving is a small handful or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. And remember, you’ll cancel out the benefit of nuts if they’re covered with chocolate, sugar, or salt. Try snacking on them instead of chips -- or throw them on a salad for a little crunchiness.

The Peanut Addendum
Peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts. But they are healthy in their own right -- high in folate, which is essential for brain development and may protect against cognitive decline.

 

So don’t forget to make this healthy food group part of your diet. That’d be nuts.



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1 Comment

  1. 1 Connie 22 Aug
    I am a medical professional and a woman. I currently live in Africa after many years in North America.  I met lady at a wedding function who saw me sweating excessively....concluded I was in menopause. She confided in me that eating  beet root and  bitter berries....mostly raw do miracles in curbing menopause symptoms. I took it upon myself to ask other women's opinion of this ...they  get relief from eating either bitter berries alone or in combination with beet root. I think research should really look into natural foods as remedy.
    Connie  

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Going Mad in Perimenopause? Signs and Solutions

Mood swings, short-term memory loss, and difficulty thinking straight are common complaints from midlife women. However, while many of these symptoms are attributed to menopause, there are other contributing factors to consider as well.

Hormones: During reproductive years, most women become accustomed to their own hormonal rhythm. When this rhythm is disrupted during perimenopause, mood changes may result.

Timing: The timing of menopause may coincide with a multitude of midlife stresses like relationship issues, divorce or widowhood, care of young children, struggles with adolescents, return of grown children to the home, being childless, concerns about aging parents and caregiving responsibilities, as well as career and education issues...

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