We have been touting the health benefits of nuts in general lately, as in a recent survey of US adults it was found that almost 95% of people ages 19-50 did not consume tree nuts of any kind. If people were more aware of the enormous health benefits of this wonderful food, perhaps more people would add it to their diet. Its major negative, that it is high in calories, can be discounted somewhat by the fact that studies have shown that people who add nuts to their diet have not had appreciable gains in weight.
What are the reasons behind that? It seems logical that if you add a high-fat food to your diet, you will gain weight. Nuts are the exception for three reasons:
1. Nuts fill you up, and you feel like eating less at subsequent meals and snacks.
2. Your system does not absorb the fat content of nuts as well, but passes it through.
3. Nuts increase your metabolism.
So if you replaced high-fat, low-nutrition foods in your diet with nuts, you should lose weight as long as you keep those portions under control. There have been studies that back this up. Your recommended intake for walnuts, for example, should be about 1.5 oz per day, or about 20 walnut halves.
So when you ask what are the healthiest nuts, walnuts rank near the top in total health benefits? They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants, and stand out from other nuts in their significantly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids. The following are some of the reasons walnuts should be in your diet.
1. Cardiovascular benefits. Research has found walnuts to have the ability to decrease LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and positively impact blood quality, as well as to reduce the risk of excessive clotting. These factors will help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
2. Lessen issues in metabolic syndrome. This isn’t so much one disease as a conglomeration of overlapping metabolic problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, excessive blood fat and inadequate HDL cholesterol. One ounce of walnuts consumed daily for three months was found to reduce several of these problems, in addition to decreasing belly fat.
3. Anti-cancer benefits. Due to walnut’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, research has shown it to have high levels of anti-cancer benefits. Chronic inflammation and chronic oxidative stress, two of the greatest threats to promote cancer development, were lowered, as was prostate and breast cancer risk when fairly large amounts of walnuts were consumed.
4. Type 2 diabetes treatment. Although diabetes is an issue with blood sugar control and insulin maintenance, people with type 2 diabetes are at a larger risk for cardiovascular problems. A proper diet plan for those with diabetes should incorporate walnuts into their diet for greater cardiovascular maintenance.
5. Other possible benefits. Large amounts of walnuts have shown evidence of better bone stability, and the anti-inflammatory nutrients found in this nut has had a favorable effect on those with obesity. As stated earlier, if walnuts and other nuts are substituted for foods that are high in saturated fats, such as meat and cheese, and you can keep your consumption in moderation, there is an excellent chance you will see a drop in weight.