How Eating Nuts Can Give You a Healthier Heart
Have you ever felt guilty about snacking on a handful of peanuts, wondering if you’re doing damage to your waistline with every handful? What about enjoying that creamy and delicious glass of almond milk and has that every made you wonder if it’s a habit worth cutting down on?
If so, then we have good news for you. Researchers and medical experts have confirmed that consuming nuts on a regular basis can actually lead towards better health, no matter if it’s through a snack-sized handful, your favorite nutty chocolate bar, or a glass of Elmhurst’s milked nuts. Specifically, consuming nuts can help make your cardiovascular system healthier overall, from your arteries and veins to even your heart.
How does eating nuts correlate to better heart health, though? We’re glad you asked. Here’s how in full detail:
Nuts have a lot of unsaturated fats, which can lower blood cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are known to be the “good” kind of fats, i.e. the kind that helps lower cholesterol levels in your body. High cholesterol levels have always been linked to heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. As such, having a diet with a healthy amount of unsaturated fats can help stave off or even prevent such disastrous health conditions.
Nuts contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which has a protective effect on the heart. We’ve all heard about how eating certain types of seafood—such as tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish—are actually good for heart health. This is because they contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are nutrients essential to keeping your heart beating in a healthy, perfect rhythm. They’re also known to lower blood pressure and slow the development of plaque in arteries, both of which can go a long way towards preventing heart attack.
For those of us who are big fans of seafood, this is great news. But does this mean that those who aren’t too enamored with the idea of eating fish will just have to contend with a lamentable lack of this life-saving nutrient and risk heart attacks in the long run? Of course not! Thankfully, nuts are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, so snacking on them is a viable alternative to cracking open a can of mackerel.
Nuts are rich in fiber, another cholesterol-lowering element. Fiber has the same kind of cholesterol-lowering effect as statins when it’s introduced into the human body through ingestion. Statins are drugs that are usually prescribed by doctors to lower a patient’s blood cholesterol levels. By achieving the same kind of effect without having to resort to costly medicine not only makes nuts healthy to eat on but economical as well.
Besides this, fiber-rich foods make you feel fuller with less, which could help with weight loss as well as controlling your metabolism. Both these benefits can help manage type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease that can compromise heart health as well as other associated and equally-important organs, such as the kidneys.
Nuts contain Vitamin E, which can help stop the development of plaque in arteries. Studies have shown that regular supplementation of Vitamin E can help reduce the risk of heart attacks in at-risk individuals by as much as 50%. That’s yet another point why you should be snacking on nuts right now, as they are rich in this particular vitamin.
Nuts contain plant sterols. Plant sterols are yet another nutrient that has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. While they do exist in other types of food and consumables, such as margarine and orange juice, they are usually added in after the manufacturing process. In nuts, plant sterols are naturally occurring.
Nuts are a great source of L-arginine, which helps with blood flow. L-arginine is known to have a beneficial effect to the circulatory system by making artery walls more pliant and flexible. This helps prevent the incidence of heart attacks and strokes, which are usually caused by stiffened or narrowed arteries.
As we can see, the convenient and scrumptious nut has a lot going for it when it comes to giving you a healthier heart, so you don’t have to think twice about snacking on them when you’re hungry or downing an ice-cold glass of chocolate-flavored peanut milk. It’s good for you in the ways that can easily benefit you in the long run.
Just remember not to overdo it, as nuts do contain a lot of calories, which can make you easily gain weight and thus cause you more health problems than you bargained for. To play it completely safe, ask your doctor or dietitian about how many servings you can consume each day, with a good baseline being 28 grams of nuts a day.
If you’re also wondering if there’s a kind of nut that you should be looking out for, doctors and nutritionists agree that it really doesn’t matter what kind of variety you snack on, so long as you keep within the serving limits and that you’re not allergic to the kind of nut you’re enjoying.