Humans have been eating nuts since prehistoric times, long before we knew just how good they are for our health. Fast forward to the 21st century, and we have a much better understanding of the nutritional value packed inside these tasty and convenient little treats. So whatever diet you follow – from Paleo and Ketogenic to Vegan or Gluten-free – here are the top nutritional benefits of nibbling on nuts.

Φωτογραφία: Frans Van Heerden

Nuts are rich in nutrients and vitamins: Nuts are a great source of many healthy boosting nutrients and vitamins including fibre, iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, potassium and Vitamins E, C and B. Not all nuts are created equal though – brazil nuts for example have 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Selenium, which helps with thyroid health as well as supporting the immune system; almonds and walnuts are a top source of skin boosting Vitamin E; and cashews are a rich plant-based source of iron – making them ideal for vegetarians and vegans.


Nuts are packed with antioxidants: Nuts are full of powerful antioxidants which work in the body to heal and protect cells damaged by free radicals. Thank to this high antioxidant content, nuts can help to slow down signs of aging, prevent diseases including cancer, fight inflammation, as well as lower the risks of developing diabetes or cognitive disorders. Almonds are especially high in Vitamin E – an anti-inflammatory antioxidant which can help slow the aging process of your cells. Walnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts and cashews are also good sources of antioxidants.


Nuts can help you lose weight: Despite their high fat content and reputation as a high-calorie food, nuts have actually been proven to help with weight loss rather than weight gain, with research showing that the body doesn’t absorb all of the calories contained inside each nut. Almonds and pistachios are said to be particularly good at helping you lose weight. Nutrient-rich nuts can also promote weight loss by regulating hunger and keeping you fuller for longer, reducing the hunger pangs which cause you to snack and gain weight.


Nuts help promote a healthy heart: According to a major scientific study, a daily serving of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. That’s because these nutritious little powerhouses are full of heart healthy elements such as unsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol levels; L-arginine that helps to improve the health of the heart’s artery walls, preventing blood clots; Vitamin E which helps stop plaque build up developing in the arteries; Cholesterol lowering fibre and plant sterols; and last but definitely not least, Omega-3 essential fatty acids that help prevent arrhythmias and heart attacks.


Nuts boost your brain power: The ironically brain shaped walnut is known to promote a healthy brain, not only improving memory and concentration, but also helping to improve our brain’s ability to process information. This is thanks to their high levels of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Cashews are another brain food, with their high magnesium content helping to delay memory loss due to age, as well as improving memory recall.


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