There is growing research that suggests eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is good for your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. They are also a great snack food. They are cheap and easy to store. Almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition. People with heart disease can eat nuts instead of a less healthy snack and follow a heart-healthy diet more easily.
Studies show people who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet find that nuts help lower the LDL, low-density lipoprotein or “bad, ” cholesterol level in the blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease.
The Food and Drug Administration allows food companies to say evidence “suggests but does not prove” that eating nuts reduces heart disease risk. However, the existing evidence looks like this is someday going to be proven as truth. Other benefits of eating nuts may include:
The reason most researchers think nuts may be healthy eating for a healthy heart is because of the unsaturated fats in nuts, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol levels. Some varieties of nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish. Nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Other substances in nuts which may help improve heart health include:
Most nuts are healthy; however, some may be healthier than others. Nuts that appear to be healthier include:
Peanuts are a legume, but seem to appear relatively healthy.
Do not cover your nuts with chocolate, sugar or salt. You could cancel out the heart-healthy benefits.
You should still eat nuts in moderation. They contain a lot of fat, most of the fat is healthy fat, but still contains a lot of calories. Try eating nuts as a substitute for saturated fat. Try eating a dash of nuts with every meal and snack instead of foods that contain unhealthy saturated fats. The most current dietary guidelines suggests eating 1 to 2 ounces, which amounts to a small handful, of nuts each day, and always as part of a heart-healthy diet.
If you just eat nuts and do not cut back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products, the nuts will not benefit your heart. Most likely, the calories will add up to more pounds and nothing more than this. You need to remember to eat nuts in moderation, about a handful or 1 to 2 ounces of nuts each day, and follow a heart-healthy diet otherwise.
I found a nice way to store my nuts and make them convenient for quick snacking. I purchased a divided container with a secure lid to seal tight when closed. I keep this out on my kitchen counter at all times. Inside I have the choice of 3 different kinds of nuts I can snack on throughout the day or along with each meal and snack.
What about nut oils?
Walnut oil is highest in omega-3. Nut oils contain saturated and unsaturated fats. You might use nut oils in homemade salad dressing or in cooking. Overheated nut oil can become bitter if overheated. Use nut oil just like nuts in moderation as part of a total heart-healthy diet to help restrict overall calorie and fat intake.
Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.
This article is FREE to publish with the resource box. Article written 3-2007.
Author: Connie Limon, Trilogy Field Representative. Visit http://nutritionandhealthhub.com and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. Visit http://www.healthylife27.com to purchase an array of superior quality, safe and effective products inspired by nature, informed by science and created to improve the health of people, pets and the planet.