allnuts11.jpgEmbrace nuts! Almonds, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios – these health power foods are excellent sources of many nutrients and are worthy to be included in your healthy diet plan.

In fact there has been growing evidence that nuts contain many bioactive constituents like plant protein, dietary fibre and some micronutrients which proved beneficial for the heart. Further research also revealed that the frequency of nut consumption lowered the risks of heart disease and cholesterol levels on men, women and the elderly alike.

Walnuts have been studied for their effects on lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure and amazing results have been obtained. In the study which was conducted on a sample of healthy men, results shown that consumption of a handful of walnuts into their daily diet reduced total cholesterol levels and favorably altered their lipoprotein profile.

allnuts2.jpgNuts are often being thought of as an unhealthy food as they are high in fats and calories. However, the fats in nuts are mainly mono- and polyunsaturated, which are known as ‘good’ fats and they are beneficial to the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids, a common kind of fat found in nuts, help to lower cardiovascular diseases and also help to increase good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol.

Include a small handful of nuts in your diet every day to reap its benefits. Do not take them in large quantities – in this way you do not have to worry about consuming excess fats and calories from nuts.

Nuts are also high in antioxidants like Vitamin E and some studies have suggested that Vitamin E helps to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Nuts like hazelnuts and almonds are one of the best sources of Vitamin E.

In addition, nuts also contain minerals which may help to aid the absorption of vitamins in your body. Brazil nuts, for instance contain good amounts of selenium which helps your body absorb vitamin E and aids it to produce its own antioxidants. Zinc is another mineral which can be found in nuts. It helps your body absorb vitamin A and has been shown to protect the eyes against diseases.

If you do not like eating nuts plain on its own, there are many ways to incorporate nuts into your diet. Nuts are very versatile – add them into muffins, breads, yoghurt, salads or simply toast them in the oven and eat them straight away. But do take note that since nuts contain oils, they turn rancid very quickly. Thus you should store them in the refrigerator if you intend to keep them for long.