It is likely you have heard some buzz about nuts lately. Perhaps you are ready to brush it off as the latest fad. However, before you desert the nuts, take a look at four quick study-backed benefits of eating nuts. You may just decide that it is time to go nuts.
Cardiovascular Health – one of the biggest fears of our time is having a cardiovascular event such as a stroke or heart attack. Anything we can do to reduce our risk is a plus, right? The good news is that nuts, of almost any kind, can help reduce cardiovascular risk. Numerous studies have shown this, including a study conducted in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. All participants in the study were considered to be at risk for a cardiovascular event. In a comparison of those trying to eat a low-fat diet versus those eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, the ones on nuts had 28% less cardiovascular events in the 4.8 years of study.
Stress Reduction – if cardiovascular health is one of our greatest fears, stress is one of our greatest plagues. Everyone is dealing with high doses of stress, which in turn promote heart attacks and generally wreak havoc on our bodies. Researchers at Penn State showed that the consumption of walnuts and walnut oil helped the body react to stress in a more positive way: by keeping the blood pressure down in stressful situations. This effect is thought to be tied to the omega-3 fatty acids contained in walnuts.
Increased Fertility – in a society where trying to get pregnant has become a hot topic, this news about nuts may be helpful. A 12-week study involving young men between the ages of 21 to 35 revealed that semen quality and movement was visibly improved in those who consumed 2.5 ounces of walnuts a day.
- Breast Cancer Prevention – while eating nuts will not guarantee you do not get breast cancer, promising studies have shown that regular consumption of nuts, particularly walnuts, may help to reduce the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Researchers at Marshall University found that the mice that consumed the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts a day showed more than a 50% reduction of breast cancer development. This study joins a host of other studies linking walnuts with lower rates of cancer development, not just breast cancer, but cancers of many kinds.
Cracking the Mystery
So, why nuts? Many scientists conclude that the primary health benefit of nuts lies in their omega-3 fatty acid content, however, other elements, including Vitamin E content, also play a role. In other word, skipping the nuts and grabbing a bottle of Omega-3 capsules may not provide the same effect. Many different nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, so the benefits are likely not limited to walnuts, but some research suggests that walnuts have higher levels of several health-giving compound than other nuts, making them the nut of choice. Including a variety of nuts in your diet may be a great way to ensure you are receiving a broad spectrum of healthy fats and nutrients in your body. Want some even better news? Research shows that increased nut consumption does not create weight gain in most individuals.
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