I often get asked ‘what nuts are best to eat’? The truth is all nuts are nutrient dense packages that are great for your health! They each have little differences in the benefits they provide but overall, any nut will do. A mix of nuts is best! After all, variety is always best. Always opt for natural, salt free versions.
Nuts are delicious and very versatile but if you need even more reasons to eat them, read on…
Why you should eat nuts
They provide a convenient source of nutrition
Yes, nuts have a high fat content BUT these are very good fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You still need to watch your intake of these fats but they are essential to good health. These types of fat actually assist in the regulation of your cholesterol, unlike saturated fat.
Nuts with a higher monounsaturated fat content:
Nuts with a higher polyunsaturated fat content:
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
Nuts are great in helping to keep your bowel motions regular. They are packed full of fibre. Their fibre content also means they will keep you fuller for longer which can assist with weight management. Fibre also helps to decrease blood LDL cholesterol levels.
Nuts are actually placed in the ‘lean meats’ section of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. This is due to their protein content which makes them a perfect addition to the diet of vegetarians and vegans.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protects our cells from damage by free radicals. It is also useful for skin health – often it is used in moisturiser.
Nuts are also a good source of zinc. Zinc is fantastic for a number of reasons: it supports a healthy immune system; it assists in wound healing and can help to maintain a healthy libido.
Selenium is an antioxidant. It is important for a strong immune system and functioning thyroid gland. Brazil nuts are very rich in selenium and can meet your requirements in just 2 nuts!
They provide phytochemicals
Nuts contain a number of antioxidants. As previously mentioned, these antioxidants help to prevent tissue damage from free radicals. This helps to prevent lifestyle related disease. The types of antioxidants and their benefits will differ from nut to nut so strive for variety!
Nuts also contain plant sterols which are used as a natural method to lower blood cholesterol levels. Additionally, they are a source of arginine which helps in maintaining healthy blood vessels. This reduces the risk of heart disease.
They reduce your risk for certain diseases
Great news for your heart! Regularly eating nuts can lower your risk of heart disease. Taking it one step further, eating nuts on a daily basis can significantly lower your risk of heart disease . Aim for a 30g daily serve as one of your mid meal snacks or as a topping to your yoghurt or cereal. Regular nut consumption is linked with lower levels of inflammatory markers .
Type 2 diabetes
Eating nuts can actually decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes . Nuts can also help to keep blood glucose levels stable. This is because they are low GI which means your blood sugar levels won’t peak too high after eating. Adding them to a meal will also lower the total GI of that meal. This also helps to prevent the development of diabetes related complications.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about nuts, heart health or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.
Contact us today.
- Nuts For Life. Going Nuts For Good health. The Australian Tree Nut Industry. 2012