How often do you eat nuts and seeds? If you’re not in the habit of eating them regularly, you’re definitely missing out. They are full of heart-healthy fats, plant sterols, and antioxidants, which all have some great benefits for your health. Here are 5 big reasons to make nuts and seeds a key part of your life from now on.
How often do you eat nuts and seeds? Read on to see how incorporating nuts and seeds into your daily diet can positively impact your health and wellbeing!
They keep your heart healthy
Nuts are packed with “good” unsaturated fats, awesome for heart health! This helps to reduce your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. You can snack on almonds for this. Walnuts have also been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Blood pressure is another marker that can be reduced through seeds, especially flax seed, according to one study.
According to research from the Louisiana State University, people who eat tree nuts are less likely to get cardiovascular disease (and diabetes too). Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and macadamias are all examples of tree nuts you can snack on to cut your risk of these type of conditions.
A 30-year study from Harvard University involving 119,000 people found that those who ate nuts regularly were 20 percent less likely to die while the study was in progress compared to those who weren’t eating any nuts at all. They were almost 30% less likely to develop heart disease.
If you already have arteries that aren’t as healthy as they can be, studies on rabbits have suggested that flaxseed can help to reduce plaque buildup by as much as 40%. Further research continues in order to nail down the impact on humans as it relates to heart health. In the meantime, flax seed is helpful in other areas as we will see below.
They can reduce oxidative stress
Sunflower seeds are a fantastic choice as they contain vitamin E, which can reduce oxidative stress in the body. If left unchecked, oxidative stress can set the scene for some serious health problems, including cancer. The 30 year Harvard study also found that people eating nuts on a regular basis cut their cancer risk by 11%.
According to studies, walnuts contain a whole host of compounds that may be able to reduce your breast cancer risk.
They can keep your brain healthy
The omega 3 fatty acids in nuts and seeds can help to keep your brain functioning well. Flax seeds are a great source of fatty acids, with a tablespoon offering over 1.5g. Chia seeds are a good source of EPA; a fatty acid linked to health benefits that include your brain.
They can keep you ‘regular’
Struggle to go to the bathroom sometimes? The fiber content in nuts and seeds could be just what you need to keep your bowel movements regular. An ounce of flax seeds gives you over 7g of fiber or you can go for the same amount of sunflower seeds and almonds and get over 3g.
They can help keep your weight under control
Another bonus finding from the Harvard study mentioned earlier involves weight control. The nut eaters tended to be a healthier weight compared to those who go without. Researchers aren’t totally sure whether this is to do with the nutrients found in nuts or if people who eat a lot of nuts also have healthier eating habits in general. Other studies have also shown that eating tree nuts can prevent obesity.
Another study found that chia seeds can help with weight loss, especially if you have metabolic syndrome. Adding chia seeds to your diet (along with nopal, soy protein and oatmeal) can trigger the production of adiponectin, a hormone that reduces the risk of obesity.
How much to eat?
The health benefits from the Harvard study involved people who were eating nuts at least seven times a week, on average.
Many experts don’t recommend eating them more than a few times per week because of the fat content.
On the other hand, the findings from the Adventist Health Study were based on eating nuts five times per week and they were even more impressive than the Harvard study.
What about nut butters?
Are nut butters as healthy as whole nuts? Well, that depends. There’s a big difference between highly processed nut butters and their more natural counterparts. Similar to fruits and veggies, whole nuts and seeds are definitely a better bet in comparison. Add unprocessed nut butters to smoothies and use in cooking or baking, for example. They’re a great protein boost and also include many of the nutrients that whole nuts have.
Maybe it’s time to increase your nut and seed intake? Even just one handful a day will have a big impact!
Comment below and let us know your favorite nuts and seeds!