Whether you’re a long-term health buff looking for the next superfood, or you’re someone who simply wants to improve your health and wellbeing, then you may already have heard about how nuts and seeds can actually be good for you. But is it the truth, or is it just a bunch of media spin designed to get you to consume more nuts in the long run?
The short answer to that is yes, nuts and seeds are in fact good for your health, whatever way you choose to consume them—by themselves, as an ingredient in trail mix, or through nut-based milks. Nut-based milks, if you haven’t heard of them before, are basically milk products derived from nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and peanuts. They’re a great substitute for dairy milk if you’re lactose intolerant, a vegan, or someone who’s just looking for something healthy to add to your daily diet.
What makes nuts and seeds good for you, though? Well, read on and find out as we list the health benefits of consuming these little packages of goodness.
Nuts and seeds contain the good kind of fats that are healthy for you
For those of us who have just started becoming a bit more conscious about what we eat and put inside our bodies, hearing how a certain type of food has fat in it may be enough to elicit a knee-jerk response to avoid it entirely. After all, fat can’t be healthy, right? That’s why we work out as hard as we do, to work all the fat off our bodies!
The truth is a bit more complicated than that, however. Just like how there’s a good and bad side to everything, there are two kinds of fat: a healthy kind and an unhealthy kind. The former, which includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, has been scientifically proven help manage inflammation within our bodies as well as lower blood cholesterol.
The unhealthy kind, which include trans fats and saturated fats, does the opposite: not only do they induce inflammation upon consumption, they also raise blood cholesterol as well as increase the risk of us contracting certain diseases or developing certain conditions. Obviously, we want to include the healthier kind of fats in our diet to enjoy their health benefits, while also limiting our intake of the unhealthy fats.
Nuts and seeds make for a great source of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with every serving, so it’s definitely ideal to either snack on some or include them as ingredients in our meals every day. This is echoed by a study published by the British Medical Journal in 1998, where it was found that individuals who consumed nuts five times a week had a 35% reduction in heart disease risk.
Nuts and seeds contain a lot of fiber, which can help you lose weight and be healthier
It’s a well-known fact that a diet rich in fiber has a lot of health benefits—so it’s great that nuts and seeds pack a lot of it with every serving. First, fiber slows digestion, which helps you feel full and satiated for a longer period of time after your meal. This often translates to lessened food intake, which then leads to weight loss. Losing weight by itself not only makes you feel healthier both mentally and physically, but also cuts the risk of you developing any serious diseases or conditions in the future.
Secondly, fiber-rich food items like seeds, nuts, fruits, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains also help decrease blood cholesterol. This process happens through a number of ways, with one of them being the binding of fiber to bile acids. Bile acids are needed to digest fat, so them being bound to fiber means that fat absorption is decreased. Another way involves the fermentation process of fiber in the intestines. There, the process creates short-chain fatty acids called propionate, which help inhibit the production of cholesterol.
Couple that with how nuts and seeds can lower cholesterol through its healthy fat content, and you’ve got a two-pronged approach to protecting your cardiovascular system!
Nuts and seeds have a lot of minerals essential for good health
Being foods that naturally occur in nature, nuts and seeds come packed with minerals that are important in keeping our body healthy and in shape. These include the following:
- Magnesium: Crucial to bone health and absorption of calcium, magnesium also helps prevent diabetes, heart diseases, anxiety, and many more.
- Zinc: Zinc is important for bolstering or supporting the immune system, healing wounds, reducing the risk of age-related diseases, and many other benefits.
- Calcium: Calcium is critical to bone and teeth development, as well as increasing bone density and staving off osteoporosis.
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus also helps in bone development, healthy digestion, the prevention of arthritis and osteoporosis, and many more.
By including nuts and seeds in your daily diet, you can easily get your recommended intake of these important minerals. Doing so will not only let you future-proof yourself against aging-related diseases and conditions, you’ll also be able to improve your overall sense of well-being.
With so many health benefits, you’d be crazy not to include nuts and seeds to your daily diet, especially if you’re in a health or weight loss kick. Just remember not to overindulge, as it’s obviously possible to have too much of a good thing.