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Go Nuts and Improve Your Health

By Paul Rothbart

One of the pillars of good health is nutrition. Choosing foods for one's diet is essential to getting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber necessary to prevent illness and maintain health. An excellent category of food is nuts. They fit any kind of diet, including vegetarian, vegan, and keto. They can be used in sweet or savory dishes or just eaten as-is. They are a very convenient snack that can be consumed on the go. There are numerous varieties and they have different flavors and textures. Nuts also provide a number of health benefits. Here are some facts about this healthy food group.

Nutrition

Nuts contain many essential nutrients. An ounce of mixed nuts has 173 calories with 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. That same ounce contains 56 percent of the recommended daily allowance of selenium, 26 percent of manganese, and 23 percent of copper. It also has significant amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and Vitamin E. Nuts are excellent for a low-carb diet. 

Lower Cholesterol

Nuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fat and may be very helpful for lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have found that almonds and hazelnuts can raise good cholesterol while lowering bad. Research involving obese people that pistachios lowered their triglyceride levels by 33 percent over a 12-week period. Macadamia nuts have also been found to lower cholesterol levels.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are plant compounds that fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This stress can damage cells and cause chronic diseases such as cancer. Nuts contain high levels of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Research has found that walnuts and almonds are effective at reducing oxidative stress in subjects. A study found that participants who ate whole pecans show a 26-33 percent reduction in oxidative cholesterol levels within 2-8 hours.

Good for Those With Type 2 Diabetes

For people with type 2 diabetes, nuts are an excellent food to add to the diet. Because they are low-carb, they raise blood sugar very little and are good substitutes for food that raise it significantly. Research has shown that nuts may lower blood pressure and oxidative stress, both contributing factors to diabetes. A study lasting 12 weeks found that people who ate an ounce of pistachios twice a day experienced a 9 percent reduction in blood sugar levels.

High in Fiber

Fiber provides several health benefits and nuts are loaded with it. First, fiber feeds the bacteria in the digestive system, functioning as a prebiotic and promoting gut health. This can lower the risk of diabetes and obesity. Fiber also fills you up, helping to control caloric intake and maintain a healthy weight. A study found that by doubling daily fiber intake from 18 to 36 grams, the number of calories absorbed can be reduced by 130.

When choosing healthy foods for snacks or to use in cooking, you can't do much better than nuts. Try adding an ounce of your favorite types to your daily diet and enjoy the benefits of better health. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Rialto, Calif.

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