Nuts often make their way into family recipes around the holidays. Perhaps at your Thanksgiving feast last week, you sprinkled some chopped pecans on top of your sweet potato casserole…or added some sliced almonds to your green beans…or tossed some walnuts on top of your casserole or into your green salad.
Of course, in our home, we always keep a bowlful of nuts on the counter for easy access. Because nuts should really be a part of your daily diet all year long! Here’s why…
Nature’s original nutritional supplement
I always recommend eating a handful of nuts each day.
For one, they’re high in B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals, including calcium, chromium, copper, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc. They also contain some fiber. And—they’re high in essential fats. (Pretty impressive, considering their small size!)
Of course, for decades, the government warned us to avoid nuts because of their “high” fat content. But it turns out, that advice was all wrong, all along. In fact, the science shows that natural fats—as found in foods like nuts—aren’t the enemy at all. Indeed, we need these essential fats.
Plus, nuts contain a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. (As I often advise, you should look for ways to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which research links to good health, and limit your consumption of omega-6s, which research links to inflammation.)
Of course, different types of nuts offer different benefits. So, here’s the “scoop,” so to speak, about some of my favorite nuts:
- Almonds contain more dietary fiber, protein, and vitamin E compared to other tree nuts.
- Cashews contain the highest concentrations of iron, which you should only ever obtain from your diet—not from supplements.
- Hazelnuts contain high amounts of folate and vitamin E.
- Macadamia nuts are the highest in calories and fats. But, accordingly, they’re also high in the essential fats you need. They’re also specifically associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
- Pecans are a good source of dietary fiber.
- Peanuts are technically a legume. And they’re a great source of protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, research shows peanuts (but not sugar-laden peanut butter) confer all the same nutritional benefits as more expensive tree nuts.
- Pine nuts have been part of the human diet for 10,000 years. They were originally collected on the “hilly flanks” of ancient Iraq/Mesopotamia, and they’re rich in vitamins E and K, along with manganese, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
- Pistachios are also an ancient food source from the Middle East. They’re the highest in potassium and vitamin E. And, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), eating pistachio nuts decreased oxidative stress on the body and improved blood lipid levels in healthy volunteers.
Now, let’s talk a bit more at length about walnuts…
Nutrient-dense nut supports both heart and brain
Walnuts are a particularly nutrient-dense food. In fact, they have more alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, than any other tree nut. They’re also a good source of fiber, magnesium, and protein.
We also know that eating a handful of walnuts daily is far more effective (and certainly safer) than taking statin drugs to prevent heart disease. For years, walnut growers wanted to share this finding with consumers. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut them down. And the only thing they can now legally say is that walnuts meet “the criterion for a heart-healthy food.”
Of course, walnuts also offer significant brain benefits. Which makes a lot of sense to me, considering a walnut’s striking resemblance to the human brain!
Indeed, according to “the doctrine of signatures,” which was developed by natural healers in medieval Europe, a plant’s shape gave clues about the organ it would benefit. So—since walnuts look like the brain, medieval healers believed it must benefit the brain. And, boy, were they right!
But no matter which type of nut you prefer, the key is to eat a handful every day…
Handful of nuts helps control blood sugar
Research shows that a daily handful of just about any type of nut improves blood sugar and reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes. This amount daily also reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, several types of common cancers, and heart disease.
In the end, this simple, daily routine is one of the easiest ways to support healthy blood sugar levels, improve brain function, and reduce inflammation. Plus, a handful of nuts as a midday snack will help you maintain a healthy weight, which is a particularly important goal at this time of year.
So, keep a bowl of your favorite nuts on the counter…and not just during the holidays, but year-round, as we do. We opt for nuts in their shells, as they’re less expensive and last longer. So, just keep a nutcracker handy.
P.S. For additional approaches to keeping your heart healthy, I recommend my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. This innovative, step-by-step, online learning tool explains the natural, heart-healing pathway to low blood pressure, a stroke-free brain, and never taking a dangerous heart medication again. To learn more, or to enroll today, simply click here now!
“The 8 Healthiest Nuts for Snacks.” Newsmax, 10/7/19. (newsmax.com/health/health-news/nuts-snacking-diet/2019/10/07/id/935958/)
“Nutrition Information,” California Walnuts, 11/12/19. (walnuts.org/nutrition/nutrition-information/)