Getting tired of eating the same old granola bar every day? Nuts can provide a delicious and healthy snack to help you break free from the mundane. Not only are they tasty, but they are also a nutritious choice. Plus, they’re allowed on many different diets, like the Mediterranean diet or a keto meal plan.
Keep reading for 10 reasons to choose nuts for your next snack.
Packed with nutrients
Nuts are full of healthy nutrients that your body needs, including vitamins and minerals.
One mineral, selenium, acts as an important antioxidant, helping to reduce inflammation and boost immune health. Most adults need about 55 micrograms of selenium per day, and Brazil nuts contain between 68 and 91 micrograms in just one nut.
You’ll also find a type of omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts. Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation and keep your brain healthy. Recommended intake for omega-3s is 1.2 to 1.6 grams per day for most adults, and there are 2.57 grams in each one-ounce serving of walnuts.
Looking for ways to add more walnuts to your diet? Try this Kale and Walnut Pesto or Walnut Thyme Cheese recipe.
Keep you feeling full
The fat, protein, and fiber in nuts is a powerful combination to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Foods that are high in fat and fiber take longer to digest and tend to stay in your stomach for longer, suppressing hunger signals and making it easier to snack less between meals.
Great source of antioxidants
Antioxidants help to protect cells against damage caused by oxidative stress. Over time, eating large quantities of antioxidants lowers your risk for many chronic diseases like heart disease.
Walnuts, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and peanuts are the best sources of antioxidants. Almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews provide a moderate amount of antioxidants.
Support weight maintenance
Nuts are a high calorie food because they are high in fat, but that isn’t a bad thing!
One study showed that people following a Mediterranean diet who ate nuts lost two more inches from their waist than those who did not. Maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t have to be hard when you have healthy options that leave you feeling satisfied. The fat and fiber in nuts that help you feel full may help to reduce snacking and overeating during meals.
Reduce risk for heart attacks or strokes
Eating nuts could help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Regularly consuming nuts may help lower your “bad” cholesterol while increasing the “good” cholesterol that helps protect you from a heart attack or stroke.
Adding nuts to your diet at least twice a week could lower your risk for heart disease by about 20 percent.
Beneficial for diabetes
Nuts are an excellent snack for people with diabetes and for diabetes prevention. Nuts are low in carbohydrates, helping to sidestep blood sugar spikes while still providing a satisfying bite between meals.
One quarter cup of almonds has only 2 grams of net carbs, so eating almonds with your breakfast could help you lower blood sugar levels and stay full until your next meal.
Help reduce inflammation
The nutrients in nuts may help to reduce inflammation in your body. Oxidative stress leads to inflammation and increases the risk for chronic diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds. Some types of nuts, like walnuts, provide omega-3 fatty acids. Most people following a western diet eat too many foods with omega-6s compared to omega-3s. Omega-6s create the opposite effect in the body and may increase inflammation. Switching some of your snacks to walnuts increases the amount of omega-3s in your diet.
Boost gut health
Trillions of bacteria live inside your gut. The good bacteria help
- protect you from disease
- break down food
- aid in absorbing nutrients
- produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease
The fiber in nuts acts as a prebiotic, providing food to the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics help to increase the diversity of good bacteria and provide fuel for the bacteria to make SCFAs.
Lower blood pressure
Nuts can help you manage your blood pressure levels. Nuts, especially peanuts and walnuts, are good sources of the amino acid arginine.
Arginine helps to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure because it helps to relax the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily.
Easy for on-the-go snacking
It can be challenging to find healthy snacks while traveling or in the middle of a busy day. Nuts stay fresh at room temperature, making them an ideal snack for on the go. They are also easy to find in health food stores, grocery stores, and online, making them a healthy and convenient option for busy people.
When purchasing nuts, try to choose an unsalted or lightly salted option.