I am nuts about nuts. One and a half ounces of tree nuts a day can keep the doctor away. These nuggets of nutrients not only provide you with monounsaturated and Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidant flavonoids and cholesterol lowering phytosterols, a recent study showed they have a variety of health benefits.
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
Tree nut consumers weighed less, had a lower body mass index (BMI) and slimmer waist circumference compared to non consumers. Further, tree nut consumption was associated with a decrease of metabolic syndrome, as well as four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers found eating tree nuts was associated with higher levels of HDL, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (good cholesterol). They also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation, which can lead to a variety of chronic diseases including heart disease. The study looked at 13,292 men and women (19+ years) participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Intake was from 24-hour recall data and tree nut consumers were defined as those who consumed ? ¼ ounce/day.
Even thought the amount of tree nuts consumed was low (mean intake of 1.19 ounces/day), those who ate nuts had a higher quality diet. For example whole grains with nuts, fruits and nuts, were combinations that go together. You can sprinkle nuts in salads, on vegetable dishes, add them to yogurt and significantly improve the quality of your diet. Nut eaters had a greater intake of whole grains, fruits, and less saturated fatty acid, sodium and calories from solid fats, alcohol and added sugars. Nuts are filling and satisfying, just beware of too much of a good thing; a little goes a long way as they are packed with calories. Just make a small cup in the palm of your hand and measure. Beware if you are allergic.
One of the researchers, Dr. O’Neil recommends, “Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals—especially registered dietitians. ”Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), adds, “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. And, since February is heart month, this is a great reason to go nuts for your health!”
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier”. She is an expert in anti aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, and weight loss, nutrition, supplements and executive health. She has a private practice in Anti Aging Medicine www.howtoliveyounger.com in Short Hills, NJ. You can live younger and healthier; Click Here to Get my Best 7 Tips on How to Live Younger and Healthier!