A handful of nuts a day can make a large impact on patient health with nutrition, cardiovascular health and controlling inflammation
Replacing unhealthy snacks with something good for you like a handful of nuts can change your health in many ways.
Becky Gillaspy, DC, and founder of Dr. Becky Fitness, LLC, in Harrisburg, Penn., knows a lot about nuts and the daily benefits patients may not know about.
How can eating a handful of nuts each day begin to change your health?
Nuts have a wonderful mix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats that helps to stabilizes your blood sugar. A stable blood sugar level is important for people with diabetes, as well as those looking to lose weight.
What kinds of nuts should people eat? Are there any to avoid?
It is hard to go wrong with nuts. Nuts of all varieties are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. However, it is best to eat nuts raw. Nuts are often roasted in unhealthy oils that take away from their health value.
Peanuts are not nuts. They belong to the legume family, which includes peas and beans. While they still contain many of the nutrients we find in tree nuts, they are very easy to overeat and often roasted in unhealthy oils. So, if healthy weight loss is a goal, you might want to limit peanuts in your diet.
What does eating a handful of nuts do to your body? Can doing it improve your cardiovascular health?
Many of the nutrients that we get from nuts act as antioxidants inside our bodies. These cell-protecting compounds shield us from disease and prevent damage to our cell’s DNA that could weaken the immune system.
Eating nuts is a delicious way to improve your cardiovascular health. Nutrients like selenium in Brazil nuts, omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, and magnesium in almonds have been shown to improve your cholesterol profile and reduce your risk of heart disease.
How else can eating nuts benefit your body and your health?
Eating nuts can lower inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation contributes to the onset of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. A study found that regular consumption of nuts reduced inflammation throughout the body.
How can you get more nuts into your diet?
There are many ways to get nuts into your diet. They make for great salad toppers and can be crushed and added to recipes. Nuts can also be eaten as a hunger-satisfying snack. Just be aware of their calorie content. While nuts are packed with nutrients, they are also high in calories. So, measure a portion or handful of nuts and then put the bag away before enjoying them as a snack.
Can eating nuts help all ages?
Nuts have disease-fighting nutrients that benefit us as we age. They are also great for kids, providing a good dose of protein for a growing body, without the added sugar found in many kid-friendly snacks.
What would people be surprised to know regarding the health benefits of nuts?
Despite being high in calories, when nut-rich diets were compared to diets low in nuts, there was no weight gain. This outcome may be due to the hunger-satisfying combination of nutrients found in nuts.
Brazil nuts are one of the most highly concentrated sources of selenium, which is a nutrient that is needed for thyroid health as it helps turn the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). Just one or two Brazil nuts a day is all your body needs to support your thyroid.
For more on patient nutrition visit the CE Resource Center.