There is a general opinion that nuts are just a junk food snack. In reality, nuts are excellent sources of delicious and nutritious food and are high in antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, unsaturated fats, nutrients, minerals and fiber. They are good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which helps to prevent heart disease. So including nuts and seeds in a limited quantity in your daily diet is great for your heart health.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States and one in every four deaths related to this problem. It is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, brain or the entire body due to blockage or narrowing of the arteries. The main reason for this blockage is that the cholesterol accumulates on the artery walls, creating damage to the coronary arteries and, reducing blood flow to the heart. Some of the diseases that affect the heart are myocardial infarction, arrhythmia and coronary heart disease.
Why nuts are considered to be healthy for the heart?
Nuts have been considered as “great and healthy snack food” as they contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. It keeps your heart healthy by lowering the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or BAD) cholesterol levels. It also reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack and also helps the lining of arteries. They are a great source of healthy and good fats that can control appetite, and the cholesterol level, and also keeps the heart healthy. So, regular consumption of them will prevent heart disease and diabetes.
What makes nuts heart-healthy?
Besides heart-healthy fats, protein and disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, most nuts contain some of the substances which are considered to be healthy for the heart.
Unsaturated fats – Unsaturated fat is found in high amounts in nuts. They make an easy snack on the go, perfect for replacing high saturated foods like dairy and fatty meat products, and foods like cakes, biscuits, pastries. Unsaturated fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – can help lower LDL-cholesterol, and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, one of the risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Heart attacks and strokes are the world’s leading causes of death. These omega fats have been found to improve numerous heart disease risk factors, prevent the development of erratic heart rhythms, which are rich in nuts. Nuts are not only tasty, but also provide numerous health benefits as the fatty acids contained in them prevent heart diseases, and control diabetes.
Fiber – All nuts contain fiber, which is good for lowering the cholesterol level. Fiber helps to keep your digestive system clean and healthy, easing bowel movements, and flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.
Vitamins – Each variety of nuts contain their own unique combination of nutrients and are generally rich in a few nutrients such as protein, calcium and vitamin E. This vitamin helps stop the development of plaques in the arteries which lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease and also heart attack.
Plant Sterols – Plant sterols are cholesterol-like substances that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol.
L-arginine – Nuts are also a great source of L-arginine – an amino acid needed to make a molecule called nitric oxide – that may help improve the health of the artery walls by making them more flexible and to prevent blood clots and eases blood flow.
Nuts and their impact on Cardiovascular Health:
Researches reveal that a person who regularly eats a variety of nuts may have fewer chances to develop heart disease compared to the individuals who rarely or never take them. In general, each nuts are good sources of unsaturated fats, fiber, protein, omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, vitamins and minerals including magnesium. Nuts may reduce risk factors of metabolic syndrome, improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Let us discuss here some of the nuts and their impact on heart health.
Almond – Adding two servings of this tree nut lowers your LDL cholesterol, which is involved in creating plaques in your coronary arteries that can cause heart attacks. Clinical diet studies show almonds can also reduce your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. Even if you have diabetes, adding almonds to your diet can improve your sensitivity to insulin.
Walnuts – Studies revealed that taking walnuts twice a week decreases cardiovascular and coronary heart disease risk as they are composed of 47 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are helpful in improving cholesterol levels and the function of the small arteries and blood vessels. Moreover, the Alpha-linoleic acid contains in these nuts act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Peanuts – Eating peanuts and peanut butter multiple times in a week, has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and it acts as an alternative food source for your protein needs that can lower your cholesterol, particularly when added to other healthy diet choices.
Pistachios – Pistachio nuts are good for heart health, as their relatively high levels of antioxidants, good fats and plant sterols. A research study exposed that people who ate pistachios on a daily basis lowers total and LDL cholesterol and can reduce the risk of diabetes-related disease in the arteries and be adding this to your diet also has potential heart benefits.
Cashews – nuts like cashews are part of the tree nut family and have a good nutrient profile and pecans contain antioxidants which may help lower LDL cholesterol.
Macadamia and Hazelnuts – Due to their high content of monounsaturated fat, macadamia nuts can lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in those with high cholesterol. Likewise, hazelnuts are a good source of multiple nutrients and the vitamin E contained in them may reduce risk factors for heart disease.
As different nuts supply a different mix of nutrients, it is a good idea to include a variety of nuts into your healthy eating plan. Always eat nuts in raw form, if possible unpeeled and unprocessed as raw nuts considered as natural health capsules that can protect and prevent heart diseases and promote healthy aging. Avoid nuts which have huge amounts of salt, preservatives and added flavors and always buy nuts in raw form.
Name: Billie Jean Bateson
Website : https://www.amazingwristbands.com/
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+Amazingwristbands/posts
Location: Houston, TX
Short Bio: I am a fashionista and love fashion marketing. My career started in 2011 as an online marketing analyst, blogger & fashion expert @ Amazing Wristbands. In the mean time, I also love writing articles in various inspiring categories for popular websites, forums, and e-magazines.