In celebration of one of the healthiest and most delicious snacks, Thursday is National Nut Day! For people looking for a tasty, crunchy and healthy delicacy, nuts are a great option. With numerous varieties, from pistachios to almonds, this tiny treat packs a major punch in terms of health benefits. In celebration of the holiday, below are some of the health benefits nuts provide.
1. Weight Loss: Most nuts are fairly equal when it comes to calories, but a few of them have been proven to be significantly healthier than others. For example, a study published in the journal Nutrition discovered that middle-aged adults at risk for heart disease and diabetes who incorporated more pistachios into their diet weighted less and cut their cholesterol and blood sugar levels after six months, Medical Daily reported. Other nuts that are good for weight loss are almonds and cashews.
2. A Healthy Heart: Pecans are packed with plant sterols, which are valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol, according to BBC Good Food. Walnuts are also chock full of of monounsaturated, heart friendly fats, which studies have showed help lower the bad type of cholesterol.
3. Disease Prevention: Almonds are rich in calcium, fiber and vitamin E, which can help fight inflammation and possibly even health conditions, including lung cancer and age-related cognitive decline, according to Health.com. Chestnuts are also a good source of starchy carbs and fiber, as well as vitamin C. Brazil nuts are especially good for men because they are packed with selenium, which is a mineral that could potentially protect against prostate cancer and other diseases. Hazelnuts and almonds are also rich in vitamin E, which can provide protection from various toxins including air pollution, eye disorders and neurological diseases.
4. A Brain Booster: Peanuts are high in folate, which is an essential mineral for brain development and could even protect against cognitive decline. Folate can possibly even ward off depression.