The Heath Benefits Of Nuts

Over the years you’ve likely heard us promoting the consumption of nuts but we’ve never really taken the time to break them down. So in today’s post we’ll be deep diving into the benefits of all the different nuts, how you can use them and when to incorporate them into your diet. Let’s kick things off with the humble almond.

Almonds

Almonds are one of the more popular nuts, they’re easy to get hold of and are commonly used in many recipes. Almonds are rich in a number of nutrients but are particularly well known for their magnesium content. Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle and nerve relaxation, immune function and skin health. Furthermore, almonds are also rich in a key skin friendly nutrient Vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in reducing inflammation and supporting the production of sebum. Sebum is the component in the skin which contributes to maintaining hydration. Onee study showed that the consumption of almonds can help to reduce the development of wrinkles. The study took 50 females who were given 20% of their total energy intake from almonds or a calorie matched snack for 16 weeks. Those in the almond group had significantly reduced severity of wrinkles after 16 weeks. Albeit it’s important to note here that moderation and variety are key!

Here are a few ideas for incorporating almonds into your diet:
Switching your high sugar snack for a handful of almonds
Sprinkling them on your porridge or yoghurt
Using ground almonds in your baking
Mixing up peanut butter with almond butter

Pecans

Pecans are a nut which are commonly reserved for baking or candying yet are a very nutritious addition to the diet. They’re a great source of unsaturated fat which is particularly important for supporting healthy blood cholesterol and a healthy heart. They also contain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and calcium which means they can be a great addition to your post workout smoothie or snack.

One small scale study showed that consuming 68g of pecans per day for eight weeks led to favourable effects on lowering LDL cholesterol. However, the pecans provided around 460 calories which is a significant contribution to the total daily recommended intake. As a result, consuming pecans in moderation is recommended.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating Pecans into your diet:
Crumbling into crumbles
Stirring them into yoghurt
Using them to stuff dates

Walnuts
Walnuts are famous for their brain health benefits as they’re a great source of omega-3. However, the omega-3 in walnuts comes in the form of ALA. ALA is an inactive form of omega-3 meaning it is required to be converted into the active form of omega-3 in the body. Throughout the conversion process much of this omega-3 can be lost. As a result, it is recommended to consume one source of plant based omega-3 per day if you’re relying on plant sources.
Research has suggested that walnuts may help to reduce neuroinflammation, support healthy brain ageing and help to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzehimer’s Disease. It is suggested that the antioxidants in the walnuts help to reduce the free radicals in the brain and consequently help to lower oxidative stress. 

Here are a few ideas for incorporating walnuts into your diet:
Using them in homemade pesto
Adding them to salads
Using them as a crumb on salmon and meat dishes

Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are nutritional powerhouses and often we don’t need to consume too many to reap the benefits they provide. Firstly, Brazil nuts are well known for their rich selenium concentrations. Selenium plays a crucial role in supporting sperm health, immune function and thyroid function too.
It’s said that Brazil nuts also contain serotonin metabolites which play a crucial role in supporting mood.

Here are a few ideas for incorporating Brazil Nuts into your diet:

Incorporate them into bread recipes
Try roasting them for snacking
Add them to granola and yoghurt in the morning
Mix them into your trail mix

We hope you enjoyed the deep dive into nuts and remember variety is key so try to mix them up where you can!

References:

Foolad, N., Vaughn, A. R., Rybak, I., Burney, W. A., Chodur, G. M., Newman, J. W., ... & Sivamani, R. K. (2019). Prospective randomized controlled pilot study on the effects of almond consumption on skin lipids and wrinkles. Phytotherapy Research33(12), 3212-3217.

Morgan, W. A., & Clayshulte, B. J. (2000). Pecans lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with normal lipid levels. Journal of the American Dietetic Association100(3), 312-318.

Chauhan, A., & Chauhan, V. (2020). Beneficial effects of walnuts on cognition and brain health. Nutrients12(2), 550.