I love snacking on almonds, especially in the spring & summer when heavier food isn't too appealing. There are actually a ton of health benefits to eating nuts – in this guest post, Alex L. shares seven..
Should you ever find yourself at the grocery store late one night, searching for the perfect snack amongst the shelves stockpiled with jumbo bags of potato chips and sweets loaded with corn syrup, keep in mind the one that benefits your heart and body. Nuts are loaded with a mixture of nutrients, ranging from potassium and copper to vitamin E and magnesium. Let’s take a look at seven ways nut consumption promotes a healthier body…
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat
Different types of nuts contain different amounts of fat. However, not all fatty foods lead to obesity, but this is a typical belief held by the public which has placed a negative image on nuts. Increased nut consumption has not been known to have any kind of detrimental effects on one’s weight. Nuts—like salmon—are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This has the potential to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. What makes the fat in nuts so unique is that it is monounsaturated fat, a fat similar to the kind found in olive and canola oils. Nuts are also high in polyunsaturated fat, a fat which can lower cholesterol levels.
Calcium is an important element in the breakdown of amino acids. Any diet where someone takes in high levels of protein should be balanced with plentiful amounts of calcium. This will help the body break down amino acids more efficiently. Calcium also helps blood vessels expand and contract, allowing for better blood flow within the bloodstream.
Phytosterols and Fiber
Phytosterols, also known as plant sterols, are plant molecules which occur naturally in various types of food (including nuts) and are similar to cholesterol. Their job is meddling with cholesterol absorption in the intestines by grabbing on to cholesterol receptors in the body. As a result, less cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream and the cholesterol levels in the blood are greatly diminished. Nuts are excellent sources of fiber as well, which help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Nuts are efficient in L-arginine, an amino acid which has the ability to improve the functioning of blood vessels by relaxing them and making them more flexible; this cuts out the chance that blood clots will form in the vessels and possibly slow down the flow of blood. L-arginine is an immune system booster, helping the body heal wounds quicker while also promoting the release of hormones.
Finally, nuts are key providers of Vitamin E. This is one of its most powerful antioxidants; it seeks out and counteracts chemicals that have the potential to harm body tissues and red blood cells. It promotes healthier skin, proper function of the immune system, and help stop the development of plaque in the arteries that can lead to chest pains, coronary artery disease, and heart attacks. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are high in servings of Vitamin E.
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