An Easy Nut to Crack
If you’re looking for a heart-healthy snack, look no further than nuts! Cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts — they all contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients that can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease, so it’s good to incorporate nuts into your diet.
We’ve all got our favorites, but you don’t have to worry about restricting your nut intake to only certain kinds; almost every type of nut has nutritional benefits. Eating nuts has also been shown to reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause heart attacks. If you want to improve the lining of your arteries and entire circulatory system, nosh on some nuts!
Reasons to Come Out of Your Shell
Besides all the heart and cholesterol benefits, nuts provide additional benefits:
- Lung Cancer Prevention: a diet rich in pistachios may help prevent lung cancer because of its healthy supply of gamma-tocopherol, a type of Vitamin E that protects against cancer.
- Prostate Cancer Prevention: Brazil nuts contain a lot of selenium, which has been linked to prevention of advanced prostate cancer.
- Weight Maintenance: Because nuts make you feel fuller longer and are metabolized slowly because of their fiber content, you’ll be less likely to cave to food cravings.
New information about the health benefits of nuts continues to be released, and many studies are underway that will tell us more about the elements of these small health wonders.
We’re Nuts for Nuts!
Although each nut has its own special mix of nutrients, most of them contain:
- Unsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol. Nuts can be a healthy snack for those already fighting heart disease.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (also found in 24K®, GlucAffect® with LunaRich, ReversAge® and Reliv Now® for Kids with LunaRich) that help regulate your heartbeat and prevent dangerous rhythms that can lead to a heart attack. Nuts are the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fiber (found in six Reliv products) that helps lower cholesterol and makes you feel full. It has also been shown to play a role in diabetes prevention.
- Vitamin E helps keep the blood in your arteries from getting stopped by plaques.
- Plant sterols that occur naturally in nuts and can also help lower your cholesterol.
- L-arginine (also found in ProVantage® with LunaRich and ReversAge®) that helps keep your artery walls flexible and less prone to clots.
Keep in Mind
Nuts contain a lot of fat (up to 80% of a nut is fat), so eat them in moderation. Use them as a substitute in your diet for the saturated fats found in meat, eggs and dairy products. A handful (1.5 oz or 42.5 grams) per day of most nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease. To gain the heart benefit, you must also cut back on dairy and meat products by replacing a normal serving with a handful of nuts.
You won’t be doing any favors by over-consuming nuts, especially if you eat them in addition to whole meals of other foods that contain saturated fats. If you replace a meat or dairy product with nuts, you’re on your way to a healthy weight.
Although they’re tasty, avoid chocolate-covered, sugar-coated and salty nuts if you’re looking for a health benefit. These should be considered the same as candy and eaten as a rare treat.
Nut oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats and although they have omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, they don’t have the fiber found in whole nuts. If fiber is your goal, stick to the source.