Aw, nuts! Tasty little morsels that go great with almost anything, nuts are some of world's most popular snack foods. They come in all shapes, sizes, and preparations - some enjoy roasted, salted peanuts, and others prefer to pop freshly cracked walnuts. But did you know that nuts are also incredibly healthy? That's right - most of our favorite nuts are an excellent supplement or substitute in a healthy diet and have been proven to help promote heart health and prevent disease!
Healthy nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E. They're also an excellent source of antioxidants. Adding nuts to an underwhelming diet or substituting healthy nuts in place of harmful, saturated fat-laden meats and snacks provides proven results in improving heart health, lowering cholesterol, and building bodily strength. The healthiest nuts provide benefits for both men and women, and can be enjoyed in a seemingly endless variety of ways. Here are some of the best benefits of eating healthy nuts, and what nuts to watch for to get them.
Unsaturated fats: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered the "good" fats, and healthy nuts have them in spades. Some nuts contain as much as 80 percent fat, but these are fats that work to actually lower cholesterol levels. Don't add them - substitute nuts for other snacks and proteins that are heavy with unhealthy fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These are key to building pulmonary and arterial strength, and are proven to reduce risk of heart attack. Many people think Omega-3 acids only come from fish oil, but rich, healthy nuts are chock full.
Fiber: Nuts are naturally rich in fiber, aiding in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of developing diabetes. As an added bonus, fiber-rich snacks and foods help you feel full, a boon in any volume-reducing diet.
Vitamin E: This valuable vitamin helps prevent build-up in your arteries, strengthening and working to prevent chest pain, heart attack, and heart disease.
What Nuts to Eat?
Every health expert seems to have a different nut of choice, but they all agree on their value. The FDA has approved the following health claim for 7 popular nuts. "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." The 7 nuts given the A-OK are:
Put 'em in a snack mix, pair 'em with a smoothie - however you get your daily dose of healthy nuts, rest easy knowing these delicious crunchies are helping your heart!