Nuts are so healthy, packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium. A handful of nuts each day could be key in fighting a range of killer diseases, scientists claim.
They are rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Nuts are also a good source of phytosterols, compounds that help lower blood cholesterol.
Just a 1oz protein is enough to slash the risk of heart disease, cancer and even obesity. Even a small daily serving cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by 30 percent, cancer by 15 percent and premature death by 22 percent. It can also halve the risk of respiratory disease and reduces diabetes by nearly 40 percent.
The researchers analyzed 29 global studies involving 819,000 people, including 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer and 85,000 deaths, to assess the link between nuts and improved health.
The research also suggested that nuts may help with appetite control, which can prevent weight gain or even help with weight lose. Study co-author Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College, London, said, “Even though nuts are quite high in fat they are also high in fibre and protein and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time.”
Nuts are thought to possess such health-boosting properties that some experts think they should be widely prescribed.
The study included all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts etc.
Mr. Aune said: “We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”
Nuts are considered a superfood because they posses anti-inflammatory qualities and are also high in protein and fibre.
In research published in the journal BMC Medicine today experts from Imperial and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found eating them was associated with a reduction in disease risk.
Walnuts are winner among nuts, because unlike their siblings, they have a significant amount of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for skin health. They also contain the most antioxidants compared with other nuts.
Mr Aune said, “Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts are also high in antioxidants which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk.”
Try making your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, or sprinkle some nuts in your salad, cereal or yogurt. You can also use crushed nuts as a tasty topping for fish. And if you want nothing other than nuts, stick to quarter-cup portions, or a small handful.