Nuts and seeds are not just crunchy foods that appeal to our taste buds, but are important for our health too. Nuts and seeds nourish our body with proteins, vitamins, fats and minerals that jointly work to keep cardiac ailments, digestion problems, brain disorders and even weight problems in check. Consuming even a single handful or 1 ounce of these power packed nuts and seeds each day can help ensure good health and a long life. Following are a few important health benefits of eating nuts and seeds:
4 Health Benefits of Eating Nuts & Seeds
Nuts & Seeds Help in Reduction of Inflammation
A storehouse of essential mono and polyunsaturated fats, nuts and seeds help in maintaining the normal cellular structure in the body and reducing inflammation. Full-fat dairy, meats, processed and fried food are high in saturated and trans-fats, which give rise to inflammation in the body. Diets rich in these foods are damaging for the body and can cause an array of diseases. By limiting the consumption of these unhealthy edibles and replacing those with foods that contain healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, can help in reducing inflammation and decreasing the level of cholesterol in the body. Studies have proven that people who consume nuts five times a week have a 35% lesser risk of suffering from cardiac diseases. Thus, this is one of the major health benefit of eating nuts and seeds.
Nuts & Seeds Help in Cholesterol Control & Weight Reduction
Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fibres that help in slowing down the digestion process and make one feel fuller and satiated for a longer duration. As result of this, one tends to eat less and thus experience an effective reduction in their weight. Moreover, the intake of a regular, healthy, fibre-rich diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains can also help in lowering cholesterol levels in the body to a great extent, which is a great reason to start eating nuts and seeds.
Bile acids are essential to promote fat digestion in the body. Fibres stick to the bile acids to reduce the fat absorption in the body thereby promoting reduction in the cholesterol level. The small chain fatty acid called propionate produced in the intestine during fermentation of fibres further keeps the cholesterol level in check. Propionate works in the liver to inhibit the enzyme called HMG CoA reductase from triggering the formation of cholesterol.
Studies have shown that apart from reduction in cholesterol levels that can be attained by consuming a diet enriched with healthy fats, an extra 25% decrease can further be achieved by the additional consumption of nuts.
Nuts and Seeds Help in Prevention of Cancer & Cardiac Ailments
Research has established that by consuming a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins like poultry and fish, people (especially women) can keep cancer and cardiovascular disorders at bay. Even addition of a single ounce of nuts and seeds to this diet can enriches its protein content by at least 6 g and thus adds more health benefit to your diet.
Nuts and Seeds Help in Promoting Musculoskeletal Health and Immunity
Nuts and seeds are rich in minerals like zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. These minerals are vital for promoting bone development, strengthening immunity, increasing energy production and maintaining the musculoskeletal health of the body.
Most diseases that affect the body, especially Type II diabetes and heart disorders, are found to be related or directly connected to inflammation. As we have mentioned previously, one of the major health benefit of eating nuts and seeds is reduction in inflammation. Consuming the maximum advisable amount of magnesium, i,e 350 mg, per day can considerably decrease the chances of inflammation. Each ounce of sunflower seed kernels constitutes of 100 mg of magnesium, which is very beneficial for our health. Calcium is a mineral which other than bone development calcium is also responsible for efficient neurotransmission and energy production in the body. One ounce of almonds is packed with 75 mg of calcium. Thus by consuming the recommended daily amount of nuts and seeds, one can ward off diseases effectively and enjoy good health all their life.
Some Nuts & Seeds Along With Their Nutrient Content & Their Health Benefits
Almond: Almond, which belongs to the group of nuts and seeds, is as good a source of calcium as milk. It is also rich in vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, vitamin E, flavanoids and fibers. Almonds help to fight cancer, improve bone and skin health and reduce cholesterol.
Walnut: Walnut is a rich source of the vital omega 3 fatty acid, which help in maintaining sound heart and brain health. It also contains the antioxidant call ellagic acid, which displays powerful cancer fighting properties and hence makes it a major health benefit of eating nuts and seeds.
Pecan: Pecan contains a good amount of Vitamins A, B and E, and minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc and folic acid. This antioxidant rich nut has health benefits such as prevention of hardening of arteries, lowers cholesterol and fights fatigue. It is packed with healthy plant sterols and oleic acid too.
Brazil Nut: This nut contains minerals like magnesium, copper and selenium. It is also a fine source of niacin, vitamin E and fibers. Eating brazil nuts benefits our health by boosting immunity and keeping thyroid function in check.
Pistachio: Pistachio is rich in vitamin B, protein, potassium, fibre and antioxidants like Zeaxanthin and Lutein. All these nutrients together help to maintain the hormonal balance of the body and keep the eyes healthy.
Cashew Nut: Cashew nut contains protein, zinc, iron, magnesium and biotin. Eating cashews give us incredible health benefits by keeping age related memory loss at bay and boosting the overall brain health. Cashew’s high oleic acid content assists in keeping the heart healthy.
Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are rich in cancer-fighting components like omega 3 fatty acids and lignans. They also contain a good amount of fiber that can reduce the risk of cardiac diseases, diabetes and stroke.
Sesame Seeds: A good source of Vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorus calcium, iron, zinc and fiber, sesame seeds benefit our health by lowering blood pressure and preventing liver damage. They also guard the body against illnesses like asthma, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, selenium, folate, copper and powerful phytochemicals, which help to improve cardiovascular health, keep thyroid in control and prevent mood swings.
Pumpkin Seeds: Packed with zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidants like carotenoids, pumpkin seeds help to rapidly boost our body’s immunity.
Chia Seeds: Chia Seeds are an incredible source of proteins, omega-3 oils, calcium, anti-oxidants and fiber, which all are very beneficial for our health.
Hemp Seeds: This highly acclaimed super seed has an excellent constitution of balanced omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, proteins and fibres. These seeds are powerful in preventing cancer and heart disease.
The intake of a variety of nuts and seeds each day is helpful in satisfying the daily nutrient requirement of the body. An ounce of nuts and seeds once a day can adequately meet our daily mineral, vitamin and protein needs and maintain the ratio of healthy fats in our body. The healthiest way of having these nuts and seeds is by consuming them in their most natural or raw state, i.e. without adding any salts or oils to them. So, everyone is recommended to regularly treat themselves with a handful of these crunchy delights to ensure good health and overall well-being and replace junk food with these tasty snacks.