Vegetarians of Washington

Nuts are powerful

Nuts are powerful for our health. The evidence is in and there’s a lot of it. Nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, can reduce the risk of death from diabetes by 40 percent, cut heart disease by 30 percent, and reduce the risk of cancer by 15 percent. They also lower the risk of high blood pressure and gall stones, and can even lower cholesterol and triglycerides.  Even more good news – it only takes a handful or two of nuts two or three times a week to gain these benefits.

Doctors have now discovered how nuts produce some of their beneficial health effects. For instance, nuts reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, body fat accumulation, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and improve the health of the coronary arteries in the heart.

While nuts do have some calories, the limited quantity needed for their beneficial effect is unlikely to affect your weight. Just as important, nuts create greater hunger satisfaction than many other foods, so you’ll have less tendency to overeat. Nuts are a good source of protein, good fats, minerals such as magnesium, vitamins such as vitamin E, and fiber. Just as importantly nuts have special substances called phytonutrients. These special substances act as antioxidants and help to prevent a whole host of diseases. Every nut is just a little bit different. For instance, walnuts are a good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, pistachios are high in potassium and vitamin B6, while almonds have the most fiber.

Try to avoid fried, salted and sugared nuts. Dry roasted nuts give the best nutrition. Include them in salads and other dishes or munch on them straight from the bag. Enjoy!