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Healthy nuts: why they’re so good for you.

healthy nutsOkay. You get it by now: nuts are really good for you. Healthy nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats, one of the healthiest oils you can eat. They’re rich in important antioxidants and a wide spectrum of nutrients, as well as healthy compounds like phytosterols—plant lipids that decrease the body’s absorption of cholesterol and may protect against cancer. And nuts have consistently been linked with lower LDL cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of heart disease. In one study, people who ate healthy nuts one to four times a week had a 27 percent reduced risk of dying from heart disease.

Surprisingly, the nutrient profile of nut varieties varies considerably. Check out these nutty facts about some of our favorite healthy nuts:

Almonds. They’re emerging as the superstars of the nut scene, as researchers discover more benefits of almonds. When they’re combined with other cholesterol-lowering foods, like legumes and vegetables, almonds help lower cholesterol about as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs. What’s more, the fat and protein in almonds help lower the glycemic index of fruits and other carbs, keeping blood sugar levels steady. Eat them with the skins on (that’s how we make Thrive Tribe): flavonoids found in almond skins can double their antioxidant load.

Cashews are lower in fat than other healthy nuts, and most of that fat is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated variety found in olive oil. They’re high in proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer. And cashews are also rich in vitamins and minerals, esepcially magnesium, which helps regulate heart rhythm, control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Pecans. New research is showing that eating a handful a day helps prevent oxidation of cholesterol, a nasty chemical change that makes LDL particles more likely to build up on artery walls. It’s partly because pecans are so high in several different forms of vitamin E, especially gamma tocopherol, a potent antioxidant. In fact, an analysis of the antioxidant capacity of foods ranked pecans as the highest of all nuts. Try this Curried Apple Pecan Stuffing for your daily dose of pecans!

And while we’re on the subject: let’s not forget our seedy friends. Our four favorites:

1. Flax seeds have more lignans, fiber-like compounds that help detoxify harmful forms of estrogen, than any other food. Flax seeds are also high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re rich in beneficial fiber.

2. Chia seeds, staple foods of the ancient Mayan and Aztecs, are packed with fiber (5 grams in only one tablespoon) and omega 3 fats.

3. Hemp seeds, from a variety of the cannabis plan grown exclusively for food and fiber (not marijuana), hemp seeds have extremely high concentrations of protein and essential fatty acids. Hemp seeds are free of THC, the drug found in marijuana.

4. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and L-tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes calm and good mood; they also protect the prostate.

5. Sunflower seeds are extremely high in vitamin E, and have heart-protective and anti-inflammatory effects.

Questions about our ingredients? Want more information about healthy nuts? Email us at Info@1908brands.com, and we’ll hook you up with a nutritionist who can shed some light on your questions and concerns.

REFERENCES:

  1. Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM.Tree nuts and the lipid profile: a review of clinical studies.Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S68-78.
  2. Gary Fraser, et al, A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease, the Adentist Health Study, Archives of Internal Medicine 152:1416-1424, July 1992
  3. Hu F, Stampfer M, Manson J, et al. Dietary fat intake and the risk of coronary heart disease in women. N Engl J Med 1997;337:1491-1499
  4. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, Faulkner DA, Wong JM, et al. Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):380-7
  5. Josse AR, Kendall CW, Augustin LS, Ellis PR, Jenkins DJ.Almonds and postprandial glycemia–a dose-response study.Metabolism. 2007 Mar;56(3):400-4.
  6. Chen CY, Milbury PE, Lapsley K, Blumberg JB. Flavonoids from almond skins are bioavailable and act synergistically with vitamins C and E to enhance hamster and human LDL resistance to oxidation. J Nutr. 2005 Jun;135(6):1366-73
  7. Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003; 77:1146-55
  8. Papoutsi Z, Kassi E, Chinou I, Halabalaki M, Skaltsounis LA, Moutsatsou P.Walnut extract (Juglans regia L.) and its component ellagic acid exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in human aorta endothelial cells and osteoblastic activity in the cell line KS483.Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):715-22. Epub 2007 Oct 5.
  9. Lu KT, Chiou RY, Chen LG, Chen MH, Tseng WT, Hsieh HT, Yang YL. Neuroprotective effects of resveratrol on cerebral ischemia-induced neuron loss mediated by free radical scavenging and cerebral blood flow elevation. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 19;54(8):3126-31
  10. Awad AB, Chan KC, Downie AC, Fink CS, Peanuts as a Source of -Sitosterol, a Sterol With Anticancer Properties,  Nutrition and Cancer, 2000; 36:2, 238 – 241
  11. Alper CM, Mattes RD. Effects of chronic peanut consumption on energy balance and hedonics. Int J Obesity, 2002; 26”8, 1129-1137
  12. Haddad E, Jambazian P, Karunia M, Tanzman J, Sabate. “A pecan-enriched diet increases gamma-tocopherol/cholesterol and decreases thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in plasma of adults.” Nutrition Research 26. (2006): 397-402.
  13. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of Selected Foods – 2007; Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, November 2007.[3]
  14. Mercanligil SM, Arslan P, Alasalvar C, Okut E, Akgul E, Pinar A, Geyik PO, Tokgozoglu L, Shahidi F. Effects of hazelnut-enriched diet on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles in hypercholesterolemic adult men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006)
  15. Shahidi F, Alasalvar C, Liyana-Pathirana CM.Antioxidant phytochemicals in hazelnut kernel (Corylus avellana L.) and hazelnut byproducts.J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Feb 21;55(4):1212-20. Epub 2007 Jan 24.
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