I remember a cleverly packaged and promoted boxed cereal with nuts and honey. They made it sound quite appealing. But it was just another processed product containing carbs and sugar masquerading as something more “natural.”
Of course, the packaged cereal and sugar industry, government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, and quasi-government co-dependents such as the American Heart Association all collude to promote boxed cereals as somehow “heart healthy.”
My advice is to stick with real nuts and honey, which you can add to real foods. And two recent studies on nuts and honey, respectively, caught my attention.
A handful of nuts confers big gains
I often report on the widespread health benefits of eating just a handful of nuts a few times per week. And now, a recent study of just 10 men and women showed dramatic results despite its small size.
Researchers gave participants a single meal containing zero, one, four, or eight Brazil nuts. Just nine hours after eating the nuts, the participants all had lower cholesterol levels. Even 30 days after eating these nuts, cholesterol levels were still better.
Interestingly, eating just four nuts actually seemed to work faster than eight nuts when it came to balancing good cholesterol levels.
Imagine if eating just four Brazil nuts each month could help protect your heart — beyond everything we already know about the benefits of eating more nuts in general.
I should also point out that Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. And as important as selenium is, I always caution that it’s possible to overdose on it. In fact, you need just a couple hundred micrograms — not milligrams — per day of it. So — you don’t want to take more selenium, or eat more Brazil nuts, than you really need.
Here’s an example of where I think we really do “need more research.” But the meat of the matter for now is to make sure your mixed nuts include some Brazil nuts. (As the largest nuts in the mix, you can’t miss them.)
Nature’s natural sweetener helps with plaque
Honey also offers many natural benefits. As Nature’s original sweetener, it doesn’t carry the metabolic consequences of consuming sucrose (table sugar).
It also works as a natural antibiotic and treatment for allergies, which I covered earlier this week.
Plus, new research suggests that a natural sugar found in honey called trehalose naturally helps prevent heart disease.
Interestingly, you find trehalose in a range of other foods, such as lobster, shrimp and mushrooms. However, when consuming these foods, the body breaks down and metabolizes the trehalose sugar.
Trehalose in the blood activates immune cells to perform “house cleaning” to remove plaque deposits from arteries. It also triggers the immune system to make more white blood cell cleaners. (And who said heart disease isn’t reversible?)
This approach takes advantage how the body normally tries to repair damaged arteries. But chronic inflammation, which is the real cause of heart disease, obstructs the white blood cells from performing this normal cleaning process.
In a lab animal experimental model, mice injected with trehalose had a 0.10 mm reduction in arterial plaques, from 0.35 to 0.25 mm. That’s a 29 percent reduction.
Of course, as you may have noted, to get these benefits, the trehalose was injected in to the body or infused into the blood, bypassing the GI tract. Typical intravenous fluid solutions contain sugar and electrolytes. So — trehalose could make a great substitute.
Stick with honey and nuts for your health.
And for all the details about every natural, scientific-demonstrated, non-drug approach to heart health, keep an eye out for my new online learning protocol. I’m putting the final touches on it now and will let you know as soon as it’s ready.