October 22 is National nut day (yup, they’ve got a holiday for nuts). So in celebration of these nutrient packed powerhouses, we’ve harvested and gathered all the perks these little gifts of nature have to offer!
Nuts are packed with protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals like fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6…and as a result contribute to our overall health in a myriad of ways:
Heart health and stroke prevention – According to the US National Library of Medicine, numerous studies indicate the power of nut consumption for heart disease prevention or reversal.
Diabetes – According to the study “Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet” (Diabetes Care, August 2011) two ounces of nuts a day can improve glycemic control and serum lipids in people with type 2 diabetes.
Weight management – A handful of nuts each day can help you lose or maintain your weight by giving you a feeling of satiety.
Eye health – The nutrients contained in nuts like zinc, vitamin E, omega-3 fats, and niacin can reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Skin saver– Your skin reveals a lot about your overall health and nutrition. Nuts are rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps keep your skin beautiful. Selenium and zinc offer skin benefits as well….like aiding in the maintenance of collagen, which keeps skin smooth, plump and youthful looking.
Additionally, nuts contain high levels of protein, which are the body’s “building blocks” producing new cells and repairing skin tissue. As a result, nut consumption aids in quicker blemish healing.
Hair helper– The vitamin B6, biotin, and zinc contained in nuts contributes to healthy, shining, and gorgeous hair.
Life lengthener– Studies have even shown that nut eaters live longer than people who don’t eat nuts regularly!
To get the maximum benefits, choose from a wide variety of nuts to snack on throughout the week: Almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews and peanuts are great options. And be careful not to overdo it if you are concerned with weight maintenance, as nuts are high in calories. Stick to the recommended portion size which is about an ounce (approximately the size of 20 almonds).
They say we are what we eat…so there’s nothing wrong with getting a little nuts sometimes! Happy National Nut Day!