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A Handful of Nuts a Day May Keep Heart Disease At Bay

While we’ve heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” recent research has revealed that nuts may do just that or more. Adding a small number of nuts to your diet can help support good heart health.

This is because nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. Besides, they are easy to store and can be easily taken with you wherever you go.

in 2020 A study of nearly 193,000 people published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who ate nuts on a regular basis had a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke compared to those who didn’t eat nuts.

What adding a handful of nuts to a healthy diet does

  • Adding nuts to your diet Improves artery health
  • It also reduces inflammation related to heart disease
  • Similarly, it Decreases the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes
  • It Lowers the risk of high blood pressure as well as premature death due to heart disease.
  • Moreover, nuts lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides, which can clog arteries.

What makes Nuts good for your heart?

Apart from being a good source of protein, most nuts contain some of the following substances that are good for your heart:

  • Unsaturated fats; scientists think both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats present in nuts, help lower bad cholesterol levels. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids; most nuts contain these omega-3 fatty acids. Research says that these fatty acids are healthy fatty acids and they may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Walnuts have more omega-3 than any other nut. Butternuts, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and peanuts also contain Omega 3.
  • L-arginine; This is an amino acid that you can find naturally in foods like fish, meat, and nuts. It helps lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and improve overall cardiovascular health. L-arginine is present in almonds, cashews, walnuts hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, and brazil nuts. It is important to note that while they are not nuts, Pumpkin seeds contain one of the highest levels of L-arginine.
  • Plant sterols; helps lower cholesterol levels. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans contain plant sterols.
  • Fiber; All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you eat less. Furthermore, it helps control diabetes.
  • Vitamin E; This is an antioxidant and helps prevent heart disease. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and brazil nuts contain vitamin E.

How many nuts should you consume?

As much as nuts contain all these benefits it is important to consume them in moderation because they are calorie-rich. The fat in nuts is mostly healthy but consuming too many nuts can still “mark up the weighing scale”.

Adults should aim to eat about 4 to 6 servings of unsalted nuts a week as part of a healthy diet. Serving recommendations for kids vary, depending on age. Consult your pediatrician on the right amount of nuts for your child.

One serving is a small handful (1.5 ounces) of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.

Raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, sweetened, or unsweetened?

It’s best to choose unsalted or unsweetened nuts. Adding salt or sugar to nuts may cancel out their heart-healthy benefits.

Likewise, go for raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than nuts cooked in oil.

Kindly Note: some people can experience dangerous allergic reactions to nuts. If you have a potential allergy or a family history of nut allergies, don’t consider using nuts until you talk with your doctor.

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