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, and we’ll hook you up with a nutritionist who can shed some light on your questions and concerns.


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