It’s time you went nuts for a healthy heart
10/13/2020 / By Leslie Locklear / Comments
It’s time you went nuts for a healthy heart

If you’re looking for a reason to start going, well, nuts for nuts, here’s one: They’re good for your heart.

According to experts, this is because nuts — especially the organic and unsalted kind — are incredibly rich in nutrients that have been linked to optimal cardiovascular health.

As noted in a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, nuts have the ability to lower low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol levels. LDL, also known as “bad cholesterol,” plays a part in the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and is a known risk factor for heart disease.

In addition, nuts are also known to lower the level of triglycerides, or fat, in the blood.

In fact, according to a 12-week weight-loss study involving individuals with obesity, those who regularly ate pistachios had their triglyceride levels drop by nearly 33 percent, compared to individuals in the control group whose triglyceride levels remained at a constant level.

The same effect was reported in another study, which focused on the effect of pistachio consumption on diabetics.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University also found that diabetics whose diets included pistachios had much lower triglyceride levels than those whose diets did not include any nuts. This blood lipid-lowering ability, according to experts, may be due to the high concentration of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in nuts.

Aside from decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, nuts such as almonds and pistachios have consistently been shown to promote healthy and sensible weight management in several controlled studies. Nuts have also been linked to other benefits related to the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system.

For instance, nuts are known to help improve the lining of the arteries, as well as to lower the levels of inflammation in the body. Aside from that, nuts have also been linked to the reduction of blood clots, which, if left unchecked, could lead to heart attack and death.

What makes nuts so healthy?

As noted by experts, most nuts contain the following heart-healthy nutrients:

  • Organic nuts are rich in unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats, such as oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, are fats that remain liquid at room temperature. According to experts, these are beneficial fats as they can help improve your blood cholesterol levels, as well as ease inflammation and stabilize your heart rhythm. Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in plant-based foods, such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
  • Organic nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids such as linoleic acid, a-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are known to prevent irregular heart beat. While fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are among the best sources of these health-supporting fatty acids, omega-3 fats can also be found in substantial amounts in nuts, making the latter an important source for vegans who wish to increase their omega-3 fatty acid intake.
  • Organic nuts are rich in dietary fiber. Also known as roughage or bulk, dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that does not get digested or absorbed by the body. It is considered an essential part of a healthy diet, since it helps normalize bowel movements, as well as lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Organic nuts are a good source of vitamin E. An essential nutrient, vitamin E functions mainly as an antioxidant, which means it helps protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. In addition to providing cells protection, vitamin E is vital to immune function as it helps fight off infection. Aside from that, vitamin E plays an important role in the production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are responsible for regulating a variety of bodily processes.
  • Organic nuts are rich in plant sterols. Plant sterols are a group of substances usually found in foods such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Plant sterols are used as medicine and are known to help reduce cholesterol levels by limiting the amount that enters the body, as well as the amount that the body itself produces.
  • Organic nuts are a good source of L-arginine. L-arginine is an amino acid that helps maintain and improve the health of your arteries. It does this by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow. L-arginine is also known to help in several other important bodily processes, such as wound healing, the removal of waste products from the body and the maintenance of immune and hormone function.

Which nuts should you add to your diet?

According to experts, the type of nuts you add to your diet doesn’t matter since most nuts are healthy and contain the same types of nutrients. Some, however, may contain higher amounts of certain nutrients compared to others.

When purchasing nuts, choose only products that don’t include additional ingredients, such as chocolate, sugar and salt, as these can end up canceling out the health benefits offered by nuts.

With that in mind, here are some of the healthiest nuts you can add to your diet:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Other foods that have the same nutritional value as nuts are seeds like chia, flaxseed and hemp. According to experts, these can be used to supplement nuts in a healthy diet.

How can you add nuts to your diet?

Nuts are among the most widely available foods on the planet. This means that adding them to your diet is incredibly easy. Not only that, but nuts are also versatile, which means that they can be consumed in a variety of ways.

Want to add a ton of texture, flavor and nutrition to your breakfast? Add a good handful of mixed, unsalted nuts to your oatmeal or smoothie. You can also chop them finely and add them to your favorite yogurt to make a quick and healthy yogurt parfait.

Expecting a long drive to work? Make yourself a healthy, homemade bag of trail mix! Just get a good-sized Ziploc bag, add in a cup of mixed nuts, a couple spoonfuls of cacao nibs, some toasted pumpkin seeds and your favorite dried fruits. Shake well and you’ve got yourself the perfect snack for a long drive!

Despite their cardiovascular benefits, however, nuts are some of the most calorie-dense foods you can find. This means that you should consume these superfoods in moderation. Experts recommend eating no more than an ounce of nuts a day to enjoy their benefits without any adverse effects.

Overflowing with heart-supporting nutrients and antioxidants, organic nuts are some of the best functional foods you ought to be adding to your kitchen stocks.


100% Fresh Food News, Right at Your Fingertips!
Find out everything you need to know about clean and healthy eating when you sign up for our FREE email newsletter. Receive the latest news on all the top superfoods, recipes, natural remedies, diets, food tips, and more!
Your privacy is protected. Subscription confirmation required.

Related Articles
comments powered by Disqus

100% Fresh Food News, Right at Your Fingertips!
Find out everything you need to know about clean and healthy eating when you sign up for our FREE email newsletter. Receive the latest news on all the top superfoods, recipes, natural remedies, diets, food tips, and more!
Your privacy is protected. Subscription confirmation required.

Popular articles