Published on 23 September, 2022
Nuts are health foods that can be munched anytime and anywhere. A handful of nuts a day is advised unless a person is allergic to them or asked to keep away due to an underlying medical condition.
Nuts are a good source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians. They are rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They have low sodium content and therefore can be eaten by people with high blood pressure. People who cannot bite nuts because of dentition issues or because they could be a choking hazard need not miss out on their benefits – they can try nut butters instead.
Some people avoid nuts because of their possible adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels and weight. But studies indicate otherwise.
Nuts and Cholesterol
Studies indicate that nuts do not increase the blood levels of bad cholesterol despite their high fat content. The fats in nuts are usually mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are the healthy fats. Walnuts contain the polyunsaturated fatty acid, α-linolenic acid. Also, because nuts are difficult to bite, it is likely that not all the fat from the nuts is absorbed into the blood from the intestine. The Brazil nut and cashew contain a considerable amount of saturated fatty acids, which are not considered healthy. These nuts should therefore be eaten in moderation.
Nuts and Weight Gain
Studies suggest that nuts do not increase body weight; in fact, their daily intake could result in weight loss. A handful of nuts fill up the stomach, in part due to their high fiber content. A full stomach usually translates into less snacking on junk foods, which could result in weight loss.
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Neale EP, Tran G, Brown RC. Barriers and Facilitators to Nut Consumption: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(23):9127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239127. Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
de Souza RGM, Schincaglia RM, Pimentel GD, Mota JF. Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Dec 2;9(12):1311. doi: 10.3390/nu9121311. Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
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