Pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, the list go on and on and on. Nuts are quite popular, a finding evident from the fact that almost everyone knows at least one kind of nut. Their popularity could be due to the fact that they are just too convenient to carry about and they are not lacking in taste either. Not to mention the fact that they could be added to a variety of diet, either as whole nuts or as by-products (nut oil).
Generally, nuts have a hard and mostly inedible outer shell. This outer shell would need to be cracked open in order to gain access to the kernel resting within it. But, technically peanuts are classified as legumes. Due to how much they resemble nuts, they have been “adopted” into the “nut family”. So essentially, nuts have a hard inedible exterior (shell) with an edible interior kernel which is usually high in fat content.
First and foremost, nuts have been discovered to have a beneficial effect on the heart. A regular but controlled intake of nuts has been discovered to be able to reduce LDL levels. LDL refers to low-density lipoproteins cholesterol (A.K.A bad cholesterol) levels in the body/heart. These LDLs are key players in building up plaques in the blood vessels. Another benefit of regular nut intake is that it might also be useful in reducing the risk of blood clot development which would then lead to a heart attack.
Additionally, nuts contain a whole lot of nutrients which could be beneficial to the body as a whole. Some of these nutrients are:
- Vitamin E
- Plant sterol (could aid in bringing down cholesterol levels)
- Unsaturated fat
Many other benefits of nut have been discovered. They include weight reduction, reduction of inflammation, could act as antioxidants among many others.
Can I eat as much as I want to?
Considering the fact that a good percentage of any nut is fat (about 80%), it would be wise to exercise moderation. But instead of foods containing unhealthy saturated fat, a small handful of whole nuts would be preferable. This does not mean nuts can offset the effects of the other saturated fats products you may consume. So, cut back on the saturated fat and make a controlled quantity of nut or their product (butter or oil) part of your healthy diet.
- Convenient as snacks
- Could be used to cook (nut oils)
Generally, nuts and their products are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet regimen. But nut oils would not contain the fiber that you would obtain from whole nuts.
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