Nuts make a regular appearance here on the Zing blog… and for good reason. We’ve written about how eating nuts can potentially increase your life span and decrease inflammation. Research from five different large studies shows that eating nuts regularly can dramatically cut your risk of having a heart attack. Newer research is pointing to a positive effect on blood sugar that may help to prevent the development of Type II diabetes. Nuts are a complex food, rich in protein, fiber, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E and trace minerals, and a whole host of phytonutrients (or plant compounds) — this combination of nutrients explains in part the many health benefits of eating nuts.
- Protein, fat and fiber digest slowly, ensuring that you feel full for longer and preventing blood sugar peaks and valleys.
- The fats in nuts are about 62% monounsaturated, the type of fat that supports healthy cholesterol levels. Nuts also contain plant sterols, which also help lower your cholesterol. Many nuts, especially walnuts, contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and good for your brain.
- Fiber supports bowel health, feeds your gut bacteria, and lowers cholesterol.
- Vitamins (vitamin E, folate, niacin, vitamin B6) and minerals (selenium, magnesium, calcium, potassium) support healthy cell function and may also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory or anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Zing bars are made with a nut butter base, ensuring a satisfying dose of protein, heart-healthy fats and fiber. They make a tasty and portable hunger-busting snack.
- Top oatmeal or yogurt with chopped walnuts or pistachios.
- Put some crunch in a salad by adding slivered almonds.
- Use cashews in a smoothie in place of protein powder (when blended, cashews become creamy). The protein and fat from the cashews will balance out the carbs from the fruit.
- Blended cashews can also be added to soups to make a vegetarian “cream” soup. Here’s one recipe to try: Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder.
- Keep a small container of your favorite nuts, or mixture of nuts, in a desk drawer to get you through a long afternoon at work.
- Nuts for Nuts?
- Eating Nuts May Help Pause Path to Type 2 Diabetes. Medscape. May 30, 2014
- Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2009; 89(5), 1643S-1648S.
- Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. Jul 2010; 2(7): 652–682.
Carol White, MS, RD, CD, has her Master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University and a Bachelor’s degree in writing. Blogging about nutrition allows her to blend her dual passions for writing and nutrition education. She currently works as a clinical dietitian in several skilled nursing facilities in the Seattle area.