A handful of nuts a day really does keep the heart doctor away - as ‘tree nuts’ help prevent heart disease, obesity and diabetes, a recent study has discovered.
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts are among the ‘tree nut’ family that contain high levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and low levels of C-reactive proteins (the main cause of inflammation in the body and heart).
Scientists from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center are dubbing these health-boosting nuts the latest ‘superfoods’ for healthy hearts after testing their benefits on over 13,000 participants.
Another additional health bonus of snacking on nuts is they can maintain a trim waistline too, as researchers discovered that regular ‘tree nut’ consumption led to lower risk of abdominal obesity.
Researchers also discovered that nut eaters have a 5% lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome (a clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and chosterol).
“One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers,” study author Carol O’Neil said in a statement, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Maureen Ternus from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation said in a statement: “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issued a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, we need to educate people about the importance of including tree nuts in the diet.
However, this isn’t the first time nuts have been credited for their weight-loss abilities. Last year, the University of Barcelona discovered that eating a small portion of mixed buts a day helps aid weight-loss.
Scientists have found a link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin, a hormone that is most commonly known for boosting happiness but also decreases appetite and improves heart health.
Walnuts hit the headlines recently after scientists hailed them as the latest superfood for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
According to researchers from the University of California Davis, men who eat walnuts see their prostate cancer risks drop.
They also benefit from the nut's vitamin-packed health boosts, such as omega-3 fatty acids, inflammation-fighting vitamin E and a plentiful of antioxidants.
Health benefits aside, nuts are most notorious for their high calorie-count. Take a look at how many calories your favourite nut contains, according to the WeightLossResource (based on 100g and unsalted):
- Almonds: 611kcal
- Brazil nuts: 687kcal
- Cashew nuts: 584kcal
- Chestnuts: 170kcal
- Hazelnuts: 655kcal
- Walnuts: 691kcal
Take a look at how you can reap the health benefits of nuts.