Health benefits of nuts you might have overlooked
Walnuts: a powerhouse for plant-based Omega-3s
Walnut is the only tree nut that is an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 (ALA – alpha-linolenic acid). A one-ounce serving of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of ALA, which is popular for preventing and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol, and preventing heart attacks. Consuming just one serving of walnuts (around 15 halves) daily, four times per week, is associated with a 18% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
Almonds and Pistachios: the best nut sources of protein
Almonds and pistachios are both the protein powerhouses of the nut world. They both have 6 grams of protein per ounce, which is the highest amount you’ll ever find in nuts. On the flip-side, the nut with the lowest protein content is the pine nut, which contains only 1 gram of protein per serving.
If you’re relying on nuts as your main or only protein source, you need to know that nuts, including almonds and pistachios are not complete sources of protein. In order to make them complete (with all 9 essential amino acids), you just need to combine them with whole grains and beans. An example of such a combination can be almond butter on whole wheat toast. Don’t try too hard to have a complete protein with every single meal though…instead, aim for variety throughout your whole day.
Almonds: the world’s best source of vitamin E and magnesium
Almonds’ remarkably high content of vitamin E makes them an antioxidant powerhouse. Just one ounce of almonds provides 37% of the RDI for vitamin E. The natural form of vitamin E in almonds (d-alpha-tocopherol), is more potent than the synthetic forms of vitamin E found in dietary supplements. This vitamin helps protect our body cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, caused by pollution, UV rays coming from the sun, cigarette smoke and other environmental and intrinsic factors.
Another amazing benefit of almonds is their way-above-average magnesium content. This makes them a perfect choice for people with diabetes, as magnesium is a mineral accountable for over 300 processes in our body, including blood sugar control.
Brazil nuts: important for preventing prostate cancer
Brazil nuts are chock-full of selenium and just two pieces of it provide the total recommended daily intake! Consuming adequate (not excessive) amounts of selenium may help protect against prostate cancer.
When it comes to Brazil nuts though, more is not necessarily better. Though these nuts are selenium all-stars, you should limit your intake to 3 per day to avoid negative side effects. Brazil nuts are high in calories, and eating too many can cause selenium toxicity, as the upper limit is 400 microgram daily. Especially if you include other selenium-rich foods in your diet, like eggs, fish, chicken, enriched pasta and bread; not to mention a daily multivitamin.
Now it’s the time to go and munch a handful of nuts.