Looking for a savoury snack that’s filling yet bursting with healthy nutrients? Look no further than nuts! Good examples of nuts are almonds and pecans which contain tryptophan - an amino acid that stimulates the production of the 'feel good' hormone serotonin in your brain, which can help ward off depression and promote a more relaxed state.
Peanuts and walnuts have important benefits for your heart because of the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids they contain. Both omega 3 and omega 6 are also needed for maintaining healthy joints and brain function. Another reason to eat more peanuts is because they're an excellent source of B vitamins, including folate, riboflavin and niacin; all of which are essential for healthy metabolism and growth. A deficiency of these can cause muscle degradation and fatigue. They also help to prevent and heal skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. Furthermore, they help to reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Cashew nuts are known for their high iron content, which is needed to make hemoglobin - the red pigment in the blood. Hazelnuts are one of the richest sources of the antioxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries. Plaque development in your arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack. Pistachios have high iron, protein and fibre content and high levels of magnesium, which help to control blood pressure.
People who eat nuts as part of their diet can lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol) level in their blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease.
Other health contents of nuts: Plant sterols - Some nuts contain plant sterols, which can help lower your cholesterol. They occur naturally in nuts. Protein - For instance, the amino acid “arginine” is present in nuts, and it can help overcome erectile dysfunction. Arginine has also been found to boost immunity and lower elevated blood pressure levels. In addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, nuts have a number of properties that make them a favourable food for diabetics. Excess weight is a primary risk factor for diabetes; nuts are nutrient-dense and don’t necessarily lead to weight gain. It’s therefore recommended that people on a weight loss plan still include nuts in their diet due to their protein and fibre content, which reduce hunger. Nuts also have anti-inflammatory effects that may help to prevent insulin resistance.
Replace unhealthy processed or fried snacks with nuts; they are inexpensive, easy to store and can be carried with you to the office or school. Nonetheless, they should be eaten in moderation; intake of 1–2 ounces of unsalted nuts per day is enough to deliver the required daily nutrient contained in nuts.
For more healthy living tips, see previous editions on our website.