Great things come in small packages.”
No words can best describe nuts than these. Though small in size, nuts are jam-packed with protein and various vitamins and minerals. In fact, it seems that nuts have it all. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, calcium – name it and most nuts have it! Different types of nuts offer different health benefits, of course. Here are your top eight nuts and the enormous health benefits that they have to offer:
Although referred to as a nut, the cashew nut is actually the seed of the cashew apple that you see hanging at the bottom portion of the fruit. These unique kidney-shaped nuts are not very much appreciated in the United States, but they are considered a delicacy in Brazil, India, and even the Philippines. Perhaps what makes the cashew nut loved by many is its heart-protective property. Not only is it lower than most nuts in terms of fat content, it is also rich in monounsaturated fat. When regularly added to a low-fat diet, this heart-healthy fat can help regulate triglyceride levels and reduce the risk for heart problems. Aside from being heart-friendly, cashew nuts are also crucial for bone building and can help prevent gallstones. Moreover, cashew nuts are especially perfect for those who have diabetes.
Sweet and flavorful, this nut indigenous to Australia is one of the most popular nutrition-packed nuts in the world. It was discovered in 1828 by Allan Cunningham, and since then has captivated the hearts (and stomachs) of many. What makes the macadamia nut unique is the fact that it is free from gluten, which is why it is a very popular ingredient in the preparation of gluten-free food. Just like cashew, it is rich in monounsaturated fat, and can therefore work favorably in protecting the heart from coronary artery disease. It is also high in various B-complex vitamins, which are vital to the body’s metabolic functions.
The almond nut is another type of nut that is technically a seed. Originally hailing from the Middle East, it can now be found in many parts of the world including Africa, Europe, and the United States. Although almonds have a very high calorie count, adding them to your regular diet can actually provide you with a number of health benefits. In a study published in British Journal of Nutrition, participants who were told to eat approximately two ounces of almonds on a daily basis were able to increase their intake of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated fatty acids, vegetable protein, fiber, vitamin E, and copper and magnesium. The participants were able to achieve this without them having to change their diets. Meanwhile, if you are always low on energy, manganese, copper, and riboflavin (vitamin B2) found in almonds can help you overcome constant fatigue.
Coming from among the tallest and long-living trees in the forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru, Brazil nuts are known for being both tasty and healthy. They are an extremely famous food source not only in Latin America, but also in many parts of the world. What makes Brazil nuts super is the fact that they are the richest nutritional source of selenium, which is crucial to the prevention of coronary artery disease, prostate cancer, and Crohn’s disease. Brazil nuts are also rich in vitamin E, which helps maintain the integrity of the skin’s cell membrane. They are also an excellent source of thiamine, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus.
During the ancient times, walnuts have been esteemed as a symbol of intellectuality and that to no surprise considering how it is shaped similarly to the human brain. True to its reputation, walnuts can indeed help improve brain health. In fact, it is often referred to as a brain food due to its ability to help increase reasoning among young adults and prevent the early onset of cognitive disorder as a result of aging. This thanks to its rich nueroprotective properties. Like most nuts, walnuts also offer cardiovascular protection, help reduce metabolic syndrome problems, provide better blood fat composition, and reduce risk of cancer.
If the walnut is considered a symbol of intelligence, the pistachio nut, on the other hand, is revered as a symbol of robust health and wellness. It is only right to give that much credit to pistachio nut, though, considering the many health benefits it has to offer. What makes this nut special is the fact that it is especially rich in gamma tocopherol, a major form of vitamin E in most plant seeds. This makes consumption of pistachio nuts as an excellent way to maintain a vibrant and young-looking skin. The pistachio nut is also the main source of pistachio oil, used not only in cooking, but also in massage therapy and aromatherapy.
Revered as being sacred by the Indian culture, pecan nuts play a huge role in neurological health. Unlike cashew and almond that are actually seeds, what many refer to as pecan nuts are actually fruits. What the pecan nut has in common with other super nuts out there is that it is richly packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. It is an outstanding source of oleic acid, too, which when regularly consumed can help decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the body at the same time. In fact, studies suggest that eating a handful of pecan nuts every day has a similar effect to taking cholesterol-reducing medications.
If you like Nutella, then you definitely like hazelnut. Sweet and nutritious, hazelnut is the fruit of the hazel tree and is produced in commercial quantities in many places around the world. Like most types of nuts, hazelnut is very high in energy, with a hundred gram carrying around 630 calories. What makes the hazelnut unique, though, is its being exceptionally rich in folate, a B-complex vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia as well as neural tube defects among newborn infants. Other essential minerals found in this nutrient-packed nut include manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium.
These nutritional facts about nuts show us that size doesn’t matter, at least when it comes to food. So, what are you waiting for? Add nuts to your diet starting today and begin enjoying the various health benefits they provide!