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Health Benefits - Nuts

Almonds
 

Although almonds are commonly referred to as a nut, they are actually teardrop-shaped edible seeds that are the fruit of the almond tree. 

 

Nutritional benefits of almonds: Almonds are a high-fat food, but they are largely a monounsaturated fat which helps to protect the heart by maintaining levels of (good) HDL cholesterol versus (bad) LDL cholesterol. They are a great source of fibre and protein, and contain important nutrients including vitamin E, selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins, especially folate and biotin (vitamin B7).

 

Can almonds help with weight loss? Research by the British Journal of Nutrition found that consuming nuts as part of a healthy diet, around 55g a day, is not only beneficial to reducing the risk of heart disease but also has limited risk of weight gain. 

 

Almonds help reduce the risk of heart disease: Almonds are rich in nutrients that can help protect the heart including unsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, magnesium, vitamin E, copper and manganese. Two research studies in 2012 and 2014 found that almonds can improve the risk of heart disease, specifically in overweight individuals. Further research has shown that almond consumption helps to reduce LDL cholesterol which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.

 

Almonds help control diabetes: A recent study on patients with type 2 diabetes found that including almonds as part of a balanced diet had multiple benefits on both glycaemic and cardiovascular risk factors. Another study demonstrated that regular almond consumption resulted in lower levels of fasting insulin and fasting glucose, so it would appear that including almonds as part of a healthy diet is a good thing for those with diabetes. 

 

Almonds are a good source of nutrients that are important for brain health, including vitamin E, folate and unsaturated fatty acids, as well as l-carnitine which is known for its neuroprotective benefits. Almond consumption may well boost memory function.

 

A 10-year Dutch study found that consuming half a handful of nuts a day, rather than specifically almonds, was associated with an average 23% lower risk of early death from conditions including neurodegenerative disease or diabetes.

 

Consuming almonds is good for the gut. Consuming moderate amounts of almonds or almond butter not only improved diet quality in both adults and children, but also altered the composition of the gut microbiome, possibly in part to their high fibre content.

 

 
Pistachios

Pistachios are a type of tree nut with numerous health benefits. Pistachios are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, and fibre, and are a valuable addition to the Mediterranean diet.

 

They are rich in nutrients: Protein, Fat, Sugars, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamin, Thiamin. A serving of pistachios provides about 37 per cent of the recommended daily vitamin B-6 intake or 1.3 mg for adults. Vitamin B-6 plays a vital role in the body, particularly in relation to protein metabolism and cognitive development.

 

Low in calories: Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts, which means people can enjoy the health benefits of nuts while more easily staying within their daily calorie limits.

 

They are packed with antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that play a critical role in health. They reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases by preventing damage to the body's cells. Nuts and seeds contain several antioxidant compounds, but pistachios have higher levels of some antioxidants than other nuts. These include γ-tocopherol, phytosterols and xanthophyll carotenoids. These substances have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

 

Pistachios may help reduce the risk of eye conditions: the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for eye health. Pistachios are a rich source of both of these substances. These reduce the chances of developing eye conditions, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

 

Beneficial for gut health: All nuts are rich in fibre, which encourages a healthy digestive system A type of fibre called prebiotics may also feed the good bacteria in the gut. Feeding the good bacteria helps them multiply and "crowd out" harmful bacteria.

 

High in protein Protein accounts for approximately 21 per cent of the total weight of the nut Pistachios also boast a higher ratio of essential amino acids. 

 

Pistachios may help reduce cholesterol levels. Women who frequently eat nuts may enjoy modest protection from cardiovascular disease, according to a 12-year study. A 2015 analysis of 21 studies report that eating nuts may lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure in people without type 2 diabetes. Pistachios had the strongest effect of all the nuts tested on reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

 

Good for blood sugar balance - Pistachios have a low glycemic index, so they do not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar after someone has eaten them.

 

Reduce colon cancer risk: Pistachios may reduce the risk of some cancers, such as colon cancer, due to their high fibre content. Scientists demonstrated this in 2017 research that showed that roasting the nuts did not affect their health benefits in relation to colon cancer cells.