Bear with me for a second. I know studies are sometimes boring but hang on to your hats folks. You are going to want to read about these. Studies involving thousands of people illustrate that diets rich in nuts help reduce the risk of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the US. Nuts have powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and heart disease is an inflammatory condition.
- “The famous Seventh Day Adventists study followed more than 30,000 church members over a 12-year period. The results showed that even in this healthy-living, largely vegetarian group, those who ate nuts at least five times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary heart disease (CHD) by 48 percent, compared with those who ate nuts less than once weekly. They also cut their risk of a nonfatal heart attack by 51 percent.
- In a study involving more than 3,000 African-American men and women, those who consumed nuts at least five times a week cut their risk of dying from CHD by 44 percent, compared with those who ate nuts less than once weekly.
- The results of the 14-year Nurses’ Health Study—which involved more than 86,000 women—indicate that women who consume more than five ounces of nuts weekly will cut their risk of CHD by 35 percent, compared with those who eat less than one ounce per month. (Similar reductions seen in the risk of death from CHD and non-fatal heart attacks.) And, the 17-year Physicians’ Health Study involving more than 21,000 men found that those who consumed nuts at least twice a week cut their risk of sudden cardiac death by 53 percent, compared with those who rarely ate nuts. (There was no significant decrease in the risk of nonfatal heart attack or nonsudden CHD death.)”
Nuts and seeds contain very concentrated sources of protein, fats, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and other minerals. Some nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids and can help improve the balance of good and bad cholesterol, blood lipids and reduce the risk of heart disease.
If you have difficulty digesting nuts and seeds, soaking them overnight begins the sprouting process and improves their digestibility.
Nuts and seeds are best eaten in limited amounts if you are concerned with weight loss or if you have difficulty digesting them. Nuts and seeds rich in omega 3 fatty acids (flaxseed, walnut, chia and pumpkin seed) may be beneficial as these fats may improve metabolism.
Almonds contain high concentrations of minerals that include calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. Almonds are the only nut that is alkaline forming in the body. Almonds are also believed to contain an anti-carcinogenic compound.
Brazil nuts are high in sulfur containing amino acids and selenium. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and is involved in immunity.
Hazelnuts are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, folic acid and vitamin E. Hazelnuts can act as a general health aid and strengthen the stomach.
Macadamia nuts are high in fat and will contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. In moderation macadamia nuts help improve the balance of cholesterol because of the abundance of monounsaturated fats. Macadamias are very low in carbohydrates and great for low carb diets.
Pistachio nuts are considered a tonic for the whole body. Pistachios purify the blood, lubricate the intestines and are used to treat constipation.
Walnuts are high in protein, iron and contain omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts can reduce inflammation and pain, lubricate the lungs and intestines and nourish the brain and adrenal glands.
Flaxseeds are the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids and help to improve immunity and reduce high cholesterol. Flaxseed meal effectively prevents constipation and is a source of lignans – compounds that have antitumour and antioxidant properties. Flaxseeds can also balance estrogen levels.
Pumpkin seeds are utilized to fight intestinal parasites especially roundworm and tapeworm. The high zinc of pumpkin seeds helps explain the value for the treatment of impotence and prostate enlargement. Pumpkin seeds are also high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Sesame seeds are high in calcium and are a fine source of magnesium, niacin, vitamins A and E, protein and unsaturated fats. When sesame seeds are made into tahini (sesame seed paste) they provide a rich, bioavailable source of calcium.
Sunflower seeds are high in protein, unsaturated fats, phosphorus, calcium, iron, fluorine, iodine, potassium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E. Sunflower seed are one of the few plant sources of vitamin D.
There is a recipe that I promised all of my friends at Hackensack University Medical Center. Please watch out for the super nuts recipe tomorrow. Until then, go nuts for nuts!