Health benefitsSeveral studies have been carried out which point to the health benefits of nuts. The first relevant study was the Adventist Health Study (Loma Linda University, California 1992) and the most recent was the Harvard Nurse’s Health Study (1998). The results of these studies have shown that nuts can help in preventing cardiovascular disease. The first study concentrated on the eating habits of over 30 000 Californian Seventh Day Adventists the second followed the nut consumption of nurses of all age ranges over a 14 year period. These studies showed that those eating nuts daily had up to 60% fewer heart attacks than those who ate nuts less than once a month and lived on average up to three years longer. The individuals eating nuts once or twice a month had a 22% lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease. In addition research has shown that regular nut consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels by approximately 5 to 15%, also lowering the amount of low density lipoprotein (which is considered to be the “bad cholesterol”), this can be attributed to the fact that nuts are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids.
Further studies showed that women who ate nuts almost every day had a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Things to remember:
• Eating a handful of mixed nuts a day is now considered good nutritional advice in order to keep a healthy and balanced diet.
• Nuts are high in fat but the fat is mostly unsaturated fat, which is beneficial to our health. Studies have also shown that those eating nuts regularly were on average thinner than those who do not consume them, having a lower body mass index.
• Nuts have beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels. One type of unsaturated fats are Omega-3 fatty acids which help monitor blood cholesterol levels.
• Protein in nuts help keep blood vessels relaxed and open
• Nuts are a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, folic acid, vegetable protein, potassium, and vitamin E
• You should be careful however and make sure that you are not allergic to nuts because then nuts can have detrimental effects on you