If you consume lots of nuts as part of your diet you may have a reduced risk of dying from cancer/ cardiovascular disease according to a study published in ‘BMC Medicine’. Spanish scientists monitored over 7,000 people aged 55 – 90 years old for almost 5 years. They were interested in the impact a low fat diet, compared to a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and virgin olive oil, had on cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet reduced the mortality risk by 39%, and those who ate walnuts had an even lower risk, cut by 45%. Those who ate more than 3 weekly servings of nuts (1 serving = 28g) had a 55% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 40% reduced risk from death from cancer. Professor Jordi Salas-Salvado explained that “walnuts have a particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals, especially in their ‘skin’, both of which, along with fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect”. Below we present a table giving the benefits of commonly available nuts:
Nut: Almonds Benefit: Calcium rich; High in vitamins E, contributes to good skin.
Nut: Brazil Benefit: Contain mineral selenium needed to produce thyroid hormone, also supports immunity and helps heal wounds.
Nut: Cashews Benefit: High protein; Source of minerals iron, zinc, magnesium; thought to improve recall and delay age related memory loss.
Nut: Chestnuts Benefit: Lowest fat and calories; High in starchy carbohydrate and fibre; In raw form source of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
Nut: Hazelnuts Benefit: Source of folate, which keeps homocysteine (amino acid in the blood that contributes to coronary heart disease) within a normal level.
Nut: Macadamias Benefit: Source of fibre and minerals; magnesium, calcium, potassium; Generally used to flavour dishes as they are high in fat.
Nut: Pecans Benefit: Packed with plant sterols, compounds that lower cholesterol; Antioxidant rich, prevent plaque forming in arteries; Rich in oleic acid, healthy fat; Vitamin B3 aiding fatigue as B vitamins are vital for energy.
Nut: Pistachios Benefit: Rich in vitamin B6 which keeps hormones balanced; Only nut to contain good levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, 2 antioxidants that help protect eyes Contains potassium and fibre.
Nut: Walnut Benefit: Antioxidant so fights cancer; Source of mono-unsaturated heart friendly fats (studies show they help lower cholesterol); Rich in omega-3 (an alternative for non fish eaters).
Nut fat content
[/plan][plan title="Medium" color="orange" target="_self"]
[/plan][plan title="HIGH" color="red" target="_self"]
We have given an indication of the level of fat because eating a lot of nuts can have many beneficial affects but be aware of your calorie intake. Check the nutritional information on the packet when buying to understand the level of fat you are taking in.