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Top 7 Reasons You Should Go NUTS for NUTS

3 minutes to read

07/25/2014

Healthy Reasons to eat nuts

A Handful of heart-friendly nuts

Nuts are a tasty treat, but they are so much more than just that. Most of us have heard that nuts are good for our health, right? But do you really know why? Just a handful of nuts contains essential vitamins, nutrients and the heart-friendly fats we’ve all been hearing about. Here are just 7 reasons why nuts are more then just a fun-to-eat snack:

1. Protein Packed

Protein is known as the building block of our bodies, including muscle tissue. Nuts pack a powerful punch of protein, which helps keep us fuller longer and suppresses our appetite. They also give us a great boost of energy to keep us going – bonus! Almonds (13% protein) and cashews (11.5% protein) are great choices of high-protein nuts that are also fairly low in calories.

2. Fiber Fiber Fiber

Fiber is an important part of our daily diets. Fiber makes us feel fuller longer and also helps to, eh hem, clean out our systems. A lack of fiber can lead to all sorts of health problems, even cancer. Pecans, walnuts and almonds have more fiber than some of the other nut varieties.

3. Extra Calcium

We all know that calcium is essential for bone strength, but we don’t always get all of our daily-required intake. Whoops. Did you know that Almonds are rich in this valuable mineral? Plus, like other nuts, they are filling, making them a great choice to bring as an on-the-go snack. Other easy ways to use almonds to add some extra calcium to your diet: Add chopped almonds to your favorite salad or sprinkle in some slivered almonds into your veggie dishes or casseroles. On the sweeter side, if you haven’t blended almonds into almond meal to make almonds cookies, you’re missing out. They’re absolutely delish – and filling, and full of calcium… and even fiber! Okay, we’ll stop now. And let’s not forget the Calcium-packed power of almond milk! Most almonds milks are actually fortified to have even more calcium than cow’s milk. Who knew?

4. Cholesterol Lowering

Many of us deal with high cholesterol. Or if we don’t have high cholesterol (pat yourself on the back if this is you), we want to avoid it in the future. In both cases, nuts to the rescue! Nuts, like pecans, contain amazing compounds called plant sterols. These plant sterols have been found to actually lower cholesterol levels. I know what you’re thinking: Pecan Pie! That’s not exactly what we had in mind, as the pure form is obviously the healthiest option, but once in a while, go ahead and indulge!

5. Eye Protection

As we get older, our eyes seem to get worse and worse. Thanks Mother Nature (that’s sarcasm, just to be clear)! Yes, nuts can help with vision. Pistachios, to be more exact. This wonderfully delicious little green nut actually contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help to protect our eyes from cell-destroying free radicals. So, crack open a few pistachios – Your eyes will thank you.

6. Cancer Fighting

While most nuts contain antioxidants, some nuts, like walnuts, are known for their super duper extra power punch of cancer fighting antioxidants. Walnuts contain even more antioxidants than other varieties, and can help in the fight against breast cancer and prostate cancer. Walnuts contain a compound demonstrated to help block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, which may help to slow the growth of these nasty cells.

7. Vitamins B and C

Most of us think of oranges or other citrus fruits when we think of vitamin C. But did you know that some nuts, like chestnuts, are also a good source of vitamin C? To make things even better, chestnuts also contain B vitamins, such as B6. Another plus about chestnuts – they are low in calorie and fat content compared to some other nuts.

A brief note on salt: While we love our salty snacks, keep in mind that, while nuts are super duper healthy, salt is not so much. Snack on unsalted nuts most of the time, or go for a lightly salted variety if you absolutely need the extra flavor. Salt can raise blood pressure, and cause other not-so-desirable health effects.

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