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Nuts have been included in the human diet for at least 750,000 years, according to historical evidences. The nutritional value and accessibility of nuts around the world made it an important part of diet everywhere in the world. The most common types of nuts are almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, chestnuts, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Another unexpected type of nut is a coconut, which has some unique health benefits as well. So in overall the benefits of nuts are enumerated below.
One of the best aspects of nuts is their high content of healthy fats, these polyunsaturated fats are called omega-3 fatty acids, more specifically, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). This type of fatty acid has certain anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce the chances of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Furthermore, the high level of dietary fiber in nuts promotes good bowel movements and digestion, which reduces the chances of certain types of gastrointestinal cancers.
Every single variety of nut has a high content of fiber, which is one of the more beneficial and versatile elements found in food. First of all, fiber is important in the digestive process and it reduces the chances of developing various digestive conditions like hemorrhoids or polyps, including more serious diseases like cancer. Furthermore, fiber acts as a scrub to excess cholesterol from the body, particularly the damaging omega-6 fatty acids. Finally, fiber makes the body feel full, and inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which causes overeating. This makes nuts a valuable part of weight loss regimens. Along with fiber in the battle against the bulge, nuts contain a powerhouse of nutrients and beneficial vitamins, without adding too many calories to the diet.
Perhaps the most important attribute of nuts in terms of overall health is its impact of the cardiovascular system. This happens in a number of ways. First of all, nuts contain a large amount of ‘good cholesterol’, also known as HDL cholesterol. This beneficial type of cholesterol actually reduces the presence of dangerous cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the blood, and ensures that they do not bind on the walls of arteries and blood vessels. Secondly, nuts contain an important amino acid called L-arginine, which relaxes blood vessels and eases any constriction or chronic contractions. When blood vessels are relaxed, blood flows more freely, and there's less stress on the entire system, and blood pressure decreases. Nuts are also a rich source of certain poly-phenolic flavonoid components, including resveratrol, which inhibits blood vessels to tighten. It also induces the release of nitric oxide, a known vasodilator.
The vitamin found in the highest concentrations in nuts is Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants combat the effects of free radicals in the body, which can cause a wide range of diseases and dangerous conditions, including various types of cancer. Furthermore, the health benefits of vitamin E include its ability to boost skin health and fight the harmful effects of free radicals that lead to wrinkles and premature aging. This vitamin also boosts immune function, increases the metabolic functions of the body, and promotes cellular repair.
Nuts also combat the debilitating effects of mental disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression due to its omega-3 fatty acid content. These compounds are also good at reducing rheumatoid arthritis, since it is anti-inflammatory in nature, which increases the flow of blood to the brain, further increasing healthy cognitive function.
The high levels of potassium found in certain nuts are very beneficial to cellular fluid and water balance in the cells. This can help keep the body hydrated and functioning properly, as hydration is very important. Potassium also works as a vasodilator to further reduce blood pressure and protect the heart from various conditions.
These two essential minerals are needed for the proper functioning and creation of red blood cells. Iron and copper are both active components in red blood cells, so they work to alleviate symptoms of anemia, also known as iron deficiency, which can result in fatigue, light headedness, stomach issues, and sleep disorders.
As long as you are aware of what your body can and can’t handle, nuts are an extremely valuable boost to your overall health.
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