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Superfoods: Nuts

Dietitian, Juliette Kellow explains the health benefits and nutritional value of nuts another of our superfoods.

The Health Benefits of Nuts

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Nuts contain a host of nutrients including protein, fibre, calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and vitamin E. Plus, most of the fat in nuts comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Five large epidemiological studies have found that frequently eating nuts lowered the risk of heart disease by anywhere between 15 and 51 percent.

Different nuts provide different ingredients that have been linked to a healthy heart and the prevention of other health problems. For example, almonds are a particularly rich source of antioxidant vitamin E, a good intake of which has been associated with a healthy heart. Peanuts contain a flavonoid called resveratrol, also found in red grapes and red wine that according to research, may have anti-cancer properties. Walnuts contain ellagic acid, another antioxidant that’s been linked to cancer. And Brazils are one of the richest sources of antioxidant selenium, a mineral that’s been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Nuts have also been found to help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, possibly because their fibre and magnesium content helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels more even.

Researchers from America studied more than 83,000 women and found that those who ate a handful of nuts or 2tbsp peanut butter at least five times a week, were 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never ate nuts.

Nuts Nutritional Value

Most slimmers avoid nuts because they are worried about the high calorie content. Some studies suggest they may actually help you lose weight when included as part of a moderate fat, rather than a high-fat diet. This is possibly because people find it easier to stick to a diet that has fewer restrictions. The key is to have just small amounts – and always opt for unsalted varieties.

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Other Superfoods:

Blueberries | Oily Fish | Avocado | Broccoli | Whole Grain | Tomatoes | Soya


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