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Nuts for a healthy life

Nuts are probably the most underestimated food item. They are a really misunderstood food too. They are notorious for causing allergic reactions. Some even severe enough to cause anaphylaxis. Nuts and shellfish are infamous for causing severe allergic reactions. 

However, for those who are not allergic to nuts, there is good news for you. A handful of nuts can have positive health boosting effects. From the ability to beat colon cancer to healthy weight loss, there is a lot that nuts have to offer. Nuts are an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats and protein. This makes them an excellent choice as a daily power packed snack. From salted, toasted and even spiced, nuts are available in a lot of variants however unsalted nuts are the healthiest option. Read on to find out more about the benefits of nuts.

#1 Nuts and impact on cancer

Cancer is a much dreaded C-word. But it can happen to anyone! Young and old alike. For those who are diagnosed with colon cancer- all is not bad. Latest research at Yale Cancer Center revealed that patients diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, who regularly ate nuts had significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and lower mortality rates than those who didn't! If we are talking numbers, then it was found that those who regularly ate at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts in a week showed a 42% improvement in disease-free survival and also had a 57% improvement in overall survival rate. 

A further revelation was that chances of being disease-free increased by 46% in  those patients who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts. If you are now wondering, what on earth are tree nuts? Tree nuts are those that grow on trees and include almonds,cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios,pine nuts and walnuts.

#2 Reduce weight gain with nuts

Research conducted by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center have found that nuts are not an obesogenic food. This implies that  nuts are not associated with causing obesity. From the days of yore, it was believed that nuts, being high-fat, energy-dense food are a bad choice of food for those who want to lose weight. For example a one-ounce serving of about 24 almonds contains about 200 calories! There is no denying that 200 calories is not a small amount. But nuts must not be seen as obesity causing foods. In fact they can do the opposite, because those who are regular consumers of nuts tend to be leaner. This research involved 373,000 participants from 10 European countries who were between the ages of 25 and 70.

#3 Eat your daily dose of nuts to strengthen brain waves

Researchers also found that regular consumption of nuts can strengthen brainwave frequencies that are associated with cognition, healing, learning and even memory. Okay so, pistachios and peanuts were found to have a lot of benefits for the brain. Pistachios were found to produce the most gamma wave response. Gamma waves are critical for enhancing cognitive processing, retaining information and improved learning. Peanuts, on the other hand produced the highest delta response. Delta response is associated with healthy immunity, natural healing, and even deep sleep. Nuts in general have very good concentrations of antioxidants. Walnuts contain the highest antioxidant concentrations of all the nuts. 

#4 Polyunsaturated fat can slower progression of type-2 diabetes

Polyunsaturated fat- the kind of fat found in foods such as vegetable oils and nuts, is linked to slower the progress of Type 2 diabetes in prediabetic people. Prediabetes is a medical condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not as high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes in itself can be categorized into two. The first one is where the liver produces too much glucose and the second one in which the glucose is not utilized properly by the muscles.  As of now, weight loss is considered to be the most beneficial measure to prevent it from developing into full blown diabetes.

Researchers found that in the case of second type of prediabetes, where the muscles are not able to fully utilize the glucose replacing saturated fats in the diet with polyunsaturated fats, like the ones found in nuts were especially helpful in slowing down the development of diabetes. On the other hand in the case of people whose livers were producing too much glucose, reducing saturated fat was the way to go about preventing diabetes. This was found to slower the progression of diabetes.  Replacing the saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat in the diet was found to have no effect on the progression of diabetes.

#5 Nuts can reduce mortality rates

A study conducted by the Netherlands Cohort Study, found that increased nut intake can lower mortality rates. But don’t think peanut better can buy you more time in life. This research only found beneficial effects in eating nuts.  The new research found that mortality due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory, and even neurodegenerative diseases like myasthenia gravis that cause memory loss and anxiety was also lowered among people who ate peanuts and nuts. 

A good percentage of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds are present in nuts which contribute to lower death rates. 

So, be a good chum, and eat your nuts. They not only provide energy, but are loaded with good fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and even phytochemicals. What are you waiting for? Go nuts!