Can you name a tasty snack that might also help to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol, boost weight loss and present gallstones? We can – it’s your humble handful of nuts! At Complete Chiropractic were focused not only on your spinal health, but your overall well-being – so today let’s take a look at the number one snack you should be including in your diet!
A word of caution
It goes without saying that for anyone with a nut allergy, nuts are not the way to go!
In fact, peanut allergy is the most common cause of fatal and near-fatal reactions to food so, take care extra care not to serve nuts to anyone without first checking if they have allergies. If you are unsure if you yourself may have an allergy, its now easy and quick to get this tested.
It’s also important to note that many commercially prepared nuts (either peanut butter or salted/ roasted nuts in packets) are loaded with sugar, preservatives and added unhealthy oils. Instead, look/or organic brands that must be stirred and stored in the refrigerator.
Therefore, when at all possible, choose organic nuts, or buy nuts which come in a shell. Non-organic and peeled varieties may be contaminated with pesticide residue that may actually promote cancer and Parkinson ‘s disease – failing this, treat nuts like vegetables and wash before consumption.
Nuts are good for your heart!
Extensive research has demonstrated the fact that consuming nuts may lower the risk of coronary heart disease ln fact, numerous studies show that consuming small amounts of nuts on a regular basis leads to as much as a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This is primarily because….
They reduce cholesterol
Nuts are low in saturated fat (the kind we would like to avoid) – less than 7 percent in total. They are also high in unsaturated fat, at between 40 and 60 percent. Studies show that nuts significantly reduce total LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels without altering HDL (“good”) levels – The one exception is macadamia nuts, which lower LDL levels while raising HDL numbers, which makes them even more effective!
So how does this work? It’s actually quite simple! When we consume nuts, we are supplying our bodies with nutrients called phytosterols – these are a class of compounds that interfere with intestinal cholesterol absorption and thus help lower blood cholesterol.
Nuts can also help prevent Gallstones
Nuts are rich in several compounds that may protect against gallstones, according to a 20-year study which monitored the consumption of peanuts, peanut butter and assorted nuts among 80,718 women. Results showed that women who consumed more than five units of nuts (one unit = 1 ounce or 28.6 grams of nuts) per week had a significantly lower risk of developing gallstones.
They help reduce the risk of diabetes
Research also indicates that frequent consumption of nuts may also play a significant role in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Specifically, one study showed that women who increased their consumption of peanuts and peanut butter gained protection against the development of type 2 diabetes. The analysis included 83,818 women with no previous history of diabetes – a significant sample size!.
After the initial study, researchers followed up with the women, and continued collecting information on their consumption of these nuts – over the long term, the researchers showed that the Women who ate more than 140 grams of nuts per week were 27 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them Furthermore, eating nuts just four times per week reduced women ‘s likelihood of developing diabetes by 16 percent.
And even boost weight loss
Given that nuts have a high fat content overall, you might think that they would be the last food to turn to for a weight loss boost. However, studies show that nuts -despite their high fat content – do not cause weight gain. This is because the type of fat present in nuts is (mostly) “healthy” fat.
In fact, nuts have a tendency to lower body weight and fat mass. In the context of calorie-restricted diets, adding nuts produces a more lasting and greater magnitude of weight loss among obese subjects while improving insulin sensitivity ( which reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes)
Learn more about how diet can improve your health
At Complete Chiropractic, we’re always focused on the way in which your lifestyle can improve or exacerbate any condition you are struggling with. At your next appointment, ask your doctor for some information on any dietary changes you could make to better support your recovery and ongoing well-being – you might be surprised at how simple (and tasty!) the solution might be!
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