It’s time to go nuts with nuts.
October 22 is National Nut Day, which started in 2009 in the UK by Libertarian Foods, the UK’s only farmer-owned Fairtrade nut company. National Nut Day has gained popularity in the United States as well. Everything from restaurant menus to social media activity (Pinterest boards exploded with National Nut Day pictures in 2012 and #NationalNutDay is on Twitter) have demonstrated increased interest in all things nut related (sorry, but sarcastic references to quirky friends or family members don’t count).
For good reason. Nuts are beneficial to your health, providing you with a host of vitamins and minerals. Once shunned by those suggesting they caused our bad cholesterol levels to soar and should be avoided, nuts have gained strides proving just the opposite. Contrary to what some still believe to this day, nuts do not contain cholesterol but instead, have nutrients that play a role in your body’s ability to balance its levels.
Top 5 Nuts to Eat for Optimal Health
Walnuts are recognized for their ability to help lower cholesterol. They contain phytosterols, a naturally-occurring saturated fat that contributes to LDL (low-density lipids, the bad cholesterol) reduction. Walnuts are also brimming with omega 3 which plays a role in lowering LDL levels.
Did you know? Walnuts also have one of the highest antioxidant content of the tree nuts.
2. Almonds: It’s been proven that eating almonds can diminish the spike in blood sugar after eating, making it a recommended choice for diabetics. They are also a terrific source of copper and manganese which help remove free radicals from the body.
Did you know? A quarter-cup contains 7.62 grams of protein, more than the amount in one egg (5.54 grams).
3. Brazil nuts: High in the mineral selenium, Brazil nuts are ideal for those seeking immune support, prostate cancer protection and those with low thyroid issues.
Did you know? Consuming just 3-4 Brazil nuts daily provides all the daily requirement of selenium needed.
4. Cashews: These nuts are a magnesium powerhouse. Magnesium is believed to play a role in memory improvement, especially age-related memory loss. Additionally, magnesium plays just as critical a role as calcium does when it comes to building strong bones. In fact, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, “About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones.”
Did you know? All it takes is 1/4 cup of cashews to obtain 25% of the daily magnesium value.
5. Pistachios: not only are they a good protein source, but for those watching their calories, they’re ideal. Becci Twombley, RD, CSSD, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Southern California says pistachios have “. . . among the lowest levels of calories and fat per serving of any popular tree nut. One 1-ounce serving has 160 calories and 12.7 grams of fat.”
Did you know? Pistachios contain a kind of Vitamin E that may be cancer-protecting.
So what are you waiting for? Celebrate National Nut Day on October 22 by grabbing a bunch of your favorite nuts (the food, that is) and reap their healthful benefits. Opt for raw/soaked nuts when possible!
Sources for this article include: