Nuts about NUTS!
There is no question about it, nuts are a good source of fat, protein and fibre - and some nuts are better than others. They are jammed packed with health nutrients and minerals including magnesium and Vitamin E.
For the calorie counters out there, yes nuts are high in calories, as a large portion of the nut is fat. However, the good news a recent research showed that eating more nuts actually made participants lose weight!
A recent long-term study conducted by Harvard University and Harvard Medical School analysed information on weight, diet and physical activity in a large group of people comprising 27,521 male and 117,364 female health professionals. Participants in the study were asked to record their weight, exercise activities and how often they had eaten a serving of nuts. 2
The study concluded that increasing consumption of any type of nut was linked to less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of becoming obese. The researchers point out that while the study was observational and not intended to determine cause, some clear patterns did emerge.
- Replacing an unhealthy snack with just half a daily serving of nuts was linked both to less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity.
- Increasing consumption of any type of nut was linked to less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of becoming obese.
- Increasing nut consumption by half a serving a day was associated with a lower risk of putting on two or more kilos over any four-year period.
- Substituting snacks such as chocolates, pastries, pies and donuts with half a serving of nuts was associated with preventing weight gain of between 0.41 and 0.70kg in any four-year period.
- A daily half serving increase of walnuts was linked to a 15 per cent lower risk of obesity.
The findings remained after taking account of changes in diet and lifestyle, such as exercise and alcohol intake.
While the study didn’t attempt to establish the underlying reasons, some contributing factors were suggested, including:
- That chewing nuts takes more effort than eating fast food, while the high fibre content can make people feel full for longer.
- Nut fibre binds well to fat in the gut, meaning more fat and therefore more calories are excreted.
Here are some nuts that are great for your health:
- Almonds are in many diets include almonds, as almonds may improve cholesterol levels.
- Pistachios are high in fibre and may improve cholesterol
- Walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acid and may improve a number of heart risk factors due to their high content of ALA and other nutrients.
- Cashews are a part of the tree nut family and can increase the antioxidant potential in a diet and reduce blood pressure.
It is extremely important to note that allergies towards nuts has increased over the years. A number of people are allergic to nuts and eating — or even just being exposed to — a small amount can trigger an allergic reaction. Nuts are one of the most common triggers for anaphylaxis — a severe reaction that can be life threatening.
Due to nuts being minimally processed and not added ingredients, they are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat. When incorporated into a healthy diet nuts may have positive effects on your health.
- Why nutritionists are crazy about nuts
Not so nuts ideas about losing the extra kilos you may have put on over the festive season? Many diets talk about a handful of nuts to complement their dietary plan. But what if eating more nuts helped you lose weight- would this excite you? Well it does me, as I am nuts about nuts!