Did you know that consuming tree nuts, including the common peanut, is significantly associated with reducing one’s risk of developing certain kinds of cancers? Or how about the fact that eating more nuts can reduce one’s risk of all-cause mortality?
Just one handful of nuts per day is associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of death from any cause, the latest data shows. And here are the eight healthiest nuts you can consume for such benefits:
Shaped like little brains, walnuts are scientifically linked to promoting improved brain health. A dense source of omega-three fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid, walnuts contain neuroprotective compounds like gallic acid, vitamin E isomers, melatonin, folate, and polyphenols, all of which support healthy vascular endothelial function, microbiome enhancement, and prolonged youthfulness.
“Other benefits of walnuts include beneficial microbiome enhancement, which has been linked to improved overall immunity and resistance to disease,” one report explains. “There is even evidence that eating walnuts preserves youthful telomere strands, a key element in anti-aging.”
Believed to have originated more than 5,000 years ago in China, hazelnuts are another nutritional powerhouse that just so happens to have one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scores of any nut. Hazelnuts are also loaded with antioxidants that are 20 times more potent than those found in vitamin C, and 50 times more potent than those found in vitamin E.
“As further testament to the antioxidant power of this tiny tree nut, a hazelnut-enriched diet modulates oxidative stress and inflammation gene expression without weight gain,” reports explain. “And dietary supplementation with hazelnut oil has been shown to reduce serum hyperlipidemia and slow the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.”
One of the healthiest “superfoods” known to mankind, almonds are linked to improved exercise performance and endurance. They also help to improve the abnormalities tied to metabolic syndrome while reducing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating just 15 almonds per day is enough to derive these and other benefits.
“Besides being good for your blood and your physical fitness, almond consumption may even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease,” reports indicate.
“In fact, one of the best things you may be able to do for yourself is to simply eat 15 almonds per day. But don’t conflate almonds with almond milk, which can contain a measly 2 percent almonds but a lot of carrageenan, which has been linked to inflammation and colon disease.”
Rich in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat, which improves cholesterol levels.
(Related: Cocoa flavonols are also beneficial in terms of supporting cardiovascular health.)
Are you eating enough nuts?
Another powerfully nutritious nut is pecans, the fifth nut on the list. Studies show that pecans have a noticeably positive effect on cardiometabolic risk, meaning they help to reduce the likelihood of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Pecans are also loaded with vitamin E and antioxidants that protect against cell damage.
6. Brazil nuts
Hailing from the Amazon rainforest, Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of natural selenium, an essential trace mineral that helps keep the brain in tip-top shape while protecting against thyroid problems, immune system dysfunction, infertility, and cognitive decline. Increasing selenium intake is also linked to improved blood levels of glutathione peroxidase, as well as reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Rich in an anti-cancer substance known as catechol, cashews are another cholesterol-balancing nut that is also linked to improved memory and brain function. The essential fatty acids found in cashews are also important during pregnancy, lactation, and infancy.
A rich source of essential B vitamins like B6, which is critical to central nervous system health, pistachios are powerfully nutritious in a number of ways. For one, they help to promote heart-healthy blood lipid levels while also lowering triglyceride levels.
More of the latest news about nutritional approaches you can take to help optimize health can be found at FoodIsMedicine.com.
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