Oh Nuts!

April 02, 2015

For generations we have been cautioned about nut intake ... young children shouldn't eat nuts ... they contain too much fat ... nuts are difficult to digest ... they cause weight gain ... they inflame diverticula, the list goes on. Now, new research is finding that some of our long-held beliefs about nuts need rewriting!
  • A recent study from King’s College London was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that introducing peanuts into the diets of infants between the ages of 4 to 11 months old significantly reduced their risk of being allergic to peanuts at age 5, and many now consider that the practice of withholding peanuts from babies may be a factor in the recent rise in peanut allergies.
  • The Adventist Study, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Physicians’ Health Study all have shown a a 30 to 50 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease in those who eat nuts several times a week.  It is believed that the reduction is a result of the unsaturated fat in nuts! Nuts are also rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which offers more heart health!
  • Nuts are high in fiber, which you need for healthy digestion. Over-consumption of fiber can lead  to bloating and gas. Recommendations for daily nut intake range from one-half to one and one-half ounces per day.
  • A review of large studies from Purdue University found that adults who eat nuts actually weigh less than those who don't!  In fact, a 2013 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that consuming peanut butter or peanuts for breakfast helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduces the appetite for up to 8 to 12 hours!
  • While nuts were once considered unhealthy for sufferers of diverticulitis, recent research has found there is no accepted scientific evidence to back up that belief.  Researchers are beginning to look at the possibility that eating a high-fiber diet, including a judicious amount of nuts and seeds, may reduce your risk of diverticulitis. If you do have diverticulitis --- and a taste for nuts -- talk to your health provider.
What makes nuts so good for us?
  • Good fats. Nuts are rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which lower bad cholesterol levels and omega-3 fatty acids which may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats!
  • Fiber. Nuts are a good source of fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol and control blood sugar.
  • Vitamin E. Nuts are a good source of vitamin E which slows or stops the development of arterial placque, and helps prevent chest pain and coronary artery disease.
  • Plant sterols. Nuts contain plant sterols, which can help lower your cholesterol.
  • L-arginine. Nuts are a good source of l-arginine, which may help maintain the elasticity of artery walls, giving protection against blood clots that can block blood flow.
Oh nuts ... oh yes!

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