8 Healthy Nuts and Their Benefits

Healthy Nuts and Benefits

Nuts are by far one of the healthiest snack foods, according to a variety of studies, and may even have more healthy benefits than many vegetables and fruits. In fact, walnuts provide necessary omega-3 fatty acids (good for the brain) for those who do not eat fish.

Nuts provide protein and, in moderation, are an ideal snack food offering satiety along with many healthy benefits.

Listed below are 8 healthy nuts and their benefits:

1 - Walnuts* - Boost the ability to recall - thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain more fatty acid than tuna and salmon - and no need to worry about mercury. Eating 1/4 cup daily provides the recommended daily amount needed to prevent depression and Alzheimer's.

2 - Almonds - Will help eliminate a headache - because, like aspirin, almonds contain salicylates, the same natural chemical that will reduce inflammation and block pain signals. Just a handful will provide the same benefit as two aspirins without the possibility of stomach upsets.

3 - Chestnuts** - Help ease stress - and are the only nut that contains vitamin C, a nutrient that helps ease stress. Chestnuts are also the nuts lowest in calories and fat. They can be eaten roasted, boiled or raw.

4 - Macadamia Nuts - Are good for the heart - due to the natural oils high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat - which contain oleic fatty acids and palmitoleic fatty acids. Macadamia nuts have the highest amount of monounsaturated fatty acids in a natural food.

5 - Brazil Nuts - Reduce anxiety - due to their selenium. Just three Brazil nuts will give you a day's worth of this important mineral. Selenium has mood-boosting, and anti-anxiety properties.

6 - Pecans - Will lower cholesterol - because of their high amount of plant sterols, vitamin E, and beta-sitosterol - which is a cholesterol lowering compound. Pecans can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by16 percent. Pecans also have a higher antioxidant content that other nuts.

7 - Cashews - Reduce the risk of heart disease - due to the monounsaturated fats which, in turn, help to lower bad cholesterol. Cashews are also rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium and zinc, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants beneficial in protecting us from cancer. The magnesium is good for bone growth.

Note: Referred to as a nut, the cashew nut is botanically known as a seed.

8 - Pine Nuts - Are appetite suppressor - because they are a good source of a polyunsaturated fat known as pinolenic acid, which stimulates secretion from a hormone produced in the intestines - and signals your brain that you are full. Pine nuts also slow down the rate of how quickly your stomach empties, helping you feel full longer.

Note: Referred to as nuts, pine nuts are actually seeds from pine cones.

Peanuts - Peanuts are often grouped in the nut category, but are not on the list because they are neither nuts or seeds, and are actually legumes (beans are legumes). However, they are worth listing with nuts due to their amazing anti-aging benefits. This is because peanuts have resveratrol - the flavonoid found in red wine and purple grape juice. Resveratrol helps to stave off age-related cell damage and boosts blood flow in the brain by as much as 30 percent which, in turn, reduces the risk of dementia and stroke. Peanuts also have over 30 vital nutrients and has a higher antioxidant content than apples, carrots and beets. Roasting the peanuts boosts their antioxidant content by as much as 22 percent.

*Where can you find quality shelled walnuts? In Korean markets. When I lived in Seoul, S. Korea, this was the nut of choice. A colleague told me the elders in her family would eat 2 to 3 each day just like a vitamin. Here is the U.S. when I step into a Korean supermarket I know I will find stacks of shelled walnuts, packed in containers. They are far better than what I usually find in the usual supermarket - maybe because of the regular turnover.

**Another treat in S. Korea was the roasted chestnuts sold on the street. I also boiled them and got a nice sweet treat.


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