January 19, 2017 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Understanding the True Health Value of Nuts
Nuts are delicious and good for you, everyone knows this nowadays. However, how exactly are they good? Most people have some difficulties understanding the real health value of nuts, which makes the underestimate the importance of eating them regularly. Today, we’ll take a closer look at how exactly this fantastic food benefits the body.
Of course, each type of nuts has its own benefits. For example, Brazil nuts are the #1 vegan source of selenium, and actually contain so much of this essential mineral that you can ‘overdose’ on it by eating too many in one go. Pine nuts can boost a weight loss diet because they act as appetite suppressors, and almonds make for a fantastic source of gluten-free flour. However, there are some benefits that are common to all types of nuts, and it’s those that you need to understand in order to see how why consuming a few of them daily is a necessity for maintaining good health.
Health Value of Nuts: The Right Kind of Fats
Many people avoid nuts in general, and especially when they are trying to lose weight, because this food contains a large amount of calories and fats. It’s also a very common misconception that the high fat content is the reason that makes nuts ‘bad’ for health.
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Nothing could be further from the truth as it’s the fats contained in this particular food that make it so valuable for supporting your overall wellbeing. The most beneficial elements all nuts have in some measure are mono-unsaturated fatty acids. The most well-known of them are palmitoleic and oleic acids, but there are many other types.
These fatty components are vastly different from fats contained in processed foods, which contribute to the risk of developing heart disease by elevating your levels of cholesterol. However, as they are fats, they also increase your cholesterol levels. The difference lies in the type of cholesterol that they bring into your body.
It’s imperative that you understand the real role of cholesterol in human biology. This substance coats the inner lining of blood vessels and, in essence, it’s the thing that maintains their integrity and flexibility. The health value of nuts comes from the fact that the type of cholesterol they contain promotes this specific function.
The other kind, called LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, is harder. This means that it makes the vessels stiff and contributes to their eventual clogging. This unhealthy residue, accumulated over the years of poor dietary choices, is one of the main risk factors for developing coronary heart disease.
Another important type of fatty acids contained in nuts is omega 3 fats. These essential elements help the body fight inflammation on the cellular level. The vast majority of diseases is either caused or complicated by chronic inflammatory processes. Therefore, bringing up your levels of omega 3 fats is imperative for keeping your body, as a whole, healthy.
Unfortunately, doing this is a challenge, especially for vegans and vegetarians who don’t eat fish, which is the main source of omega 3 fatty acids. As plant-based foods go, nuts are the main contributor of these specific elements into your diet.
The situation with omega 3 is complicated by the fact that these elements must be balanced by omega 6 fatty acids that our bodies get from plant oils, processed foods, and seeds. Unlike omega 3, these fats contribute to inflammation. This is a good thing to a certain point, because our bodies require inflammatory reactions to function.
The problem occurs when the levels of these fatty acids in the body are out of balance. In this case, the anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 cannot keep the reactions supported by omega 6 at a healthy level, so the inflammation starts to spread.
The health value of nuts is therefore, immeasurable, as omega fatty acids contained in them are easy for the body to process. Eating them regularly helps restore the proper balance of these vitally important elements.
Other Important Benefits of Nuts
Most importantly, they contain a wide range of varied antioxidants that protect your body from the damage free radicals dole out on the cellular level.
As you can see, there are few foods that are as healthy as nuts, so be sure to include them in your diet on a regular basis.