Did you know that regularly eating nuts significantly reduces the incidence of heart disease? Eating one ounce of nuts five or more times per week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 25-39%.
Why Are Nuts So Beneficial?
Although nuts are high in fat, the fat is mostly unsaturated fat, which has a beneficial effect on health. Studies with almonds and walnuts have both shown a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. The protein in nuts is high in arginine, which helps facilitate relaxation of blood vessels and helps prevent clotting.
Nuts are good sources of dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, folic acid, potassium, and vitamin E.
Walnuts, in particular, are high in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid that protects the heart and circulation. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and fatal arrhythmias.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Nuts?
Although nuts are good for the heart, they are concentrated in calories and, rather than becoming an addition to your diet, they should be substituted for other unhealthful foods that you would normally eat. You know, things like chips, candy, and other processed foods.
Also, because of the calorie content in nuts, portion control is especially important.
By Sarah Mohrman, RD, MA
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.