Showing posts with label Macadamia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macadamia. Show all posts

Dec 27, 2013

Benefits of Nuts

The holidays always include snacks for family and friends and now you can be good to them without cooking. A new study from November, 2013 in The New England Journal of Medicine, come from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together have followed nearly 119,000 women and men from 1980 - 2010. Both studies recorded what the participants ate and analyzed their diets in relation to the causes of death among the 27,429 people who died since the studies began.

The more often nuts ( pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, and walnuts) were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower. Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die. Among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was still 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.

Of course, moderation is key because an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories. However, findings revealed the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be. In a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese. One reason it found may be the fat, fiber, and protein in nuts suppresses hunger between meals. Every study has indicated that nuts make a contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account.

Nuts provide rich sources of unsaturated fat and also contain protein, fiber, plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, and micronutrients copper and magnesium. Nuts have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than olive oil. On average, 62 percent of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated, the kind that supports healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and does not raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides and blood pressure, slow the buildup of arterial plaque, and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Walnuts contain rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which is converted to heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds are good sources of vitamin E. Peanuts and pistachios are rich in resveratrol.

The nurses’ study also linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A Taiwanese study of about 24,000 people found a 58 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women who ate peanuts, although a similar effect was not found among men. The nurses’ study and a study of 64,000 women in Shanghai found strong evidence that frequent consumption of tree nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

As with all studies, especially many with exaggerated claims, no food is a panacea and eating nuts will not heal the sick or raise the dead. However, there seems to be enough evidence that adding a moderate amount of nuts to your diet is better for you than not.