Nuts for well-intentioned dieters

Well, nuts to you, too! This is meant in a nice but unorthodox way to highlight the benefits of nuts! Not the human but the food kind. Nuts are not only incredibly delicious but good for you, too

Steady evidence for the beneficial effects of nuts has been increasing since the early 1990s. Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of large-scale persistent diseases such as heart and blood vessel problems and Type 2 diabetes.

Proof comes from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings were the result of following approximately 119,000 men and women over decades. Both studies repeatedly recorded what the participants ate (among many other descriptions) and evaluated their diets pertaining to the causes of death among the 27,429 people who died since the studies commenced.

The more nuts consumed, the less likely participants were to die of heart ailments, cancer, and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters perished due to other diseases. Their death rate from any causative factor was lower in the years they were followed. The nuts included almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and peanuts

Of those who consumed nuts seven or more times a week 20 percent were less likely to die in the three decades from 1980 to 2010. The death rate for those who ate nuts less than once a week was 11 percent lower compared to those who did not eat them.

But buts are fattening, you ask? You bet. One ounce of contains 160 to 200 calories. Of that almost 80 percent is derived from fat.

But study after study reveals the more nuts eaten the slimmer people tended to be.  As an example, in a Mediterranean study that followed the result of nut consumption on weight gain over 28 months, numerous nut eaters gained lower weight than those who did not. Forty-three percent were not as likely to become overweight or fat.

Why? First, nuts may be substituted for different high-calorie snacks such as cookies, chips, and candy. As well, nut eaters may not be prone to snack. Fat, fiber and protein in nuts curtails appetite between meals.

Second, calories from nuts may be metabolized differently in the body from those in other high-carbohydrate foods. Third, nut eaters may have a healthier lifestyle and shed more calories through exercise.

Beneficial results are not restricted to tree nuts. The new study determined peanuts, a legume, is also linked to a lower death rate and risk of chronic disease.

Nuts are not only dynamos of biologically vigorous ingredients but as explained by professor of nutrition Penny M. Kris-Etherton as multifaceted plant foods abundant in unsaturated fat in addition to non-fat ingredients such as protein, copper, magnesium, and plant sterols that can reduce cholesterol.

Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids beneficial in reducing triglycerides and blood pressure, hampers development of arterial plaque and curtails irregular heath rhythms.

So have a handful!

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