Recent medical studies indicate that nuts can play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease. In one study, researchers found that although the benefits were greater for nut eaters frequently, people who ate nuts even once a month had 25% less heart disease than those who completely avoided nuts. In another study, women who consumed five or more ounces of nuts a week had a third less heart attacks than those who rarely or never consumed nuts. Similar findings have been observed in men.
Nuts are cholesterol free and full of important nutrients, including protein and fiber. They are also a great source of vitamins such as folic acid, niacin and vitamins E and B6, and mienrals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.
Numerous studies have analyzed the effect of monounsaturated fats on "bad" LDL cholesterol. It seems that a diet high in monounsaturated fats can reduce the level of the arteries, the harmful LDL cholesterol without lowering the "good" HDL cholesterol. In one study, people who had been following a low-fat diet (30 percent of calories from fat) were asked to increase their fat intake to 37 percent of calories. The additional diet fat came from nuts and was mainly monounsaturated. Even with higher fat intake, participants experienced reductions in their "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.
According to the study "Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet" (Diabetes Care, August 2011) two ounces (about 56 grams) of nuts a day can improve glycemic control and serum lipids in people with diabetes type 2.
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael Hospital following 117 people with type 2 diabetes who were randomized to 1-3 treatments over three months: approximately 2 ounces of mixed nuts, a healthy muffin control, or half portions of both at approximately 450 calories per 2000 calorie diet. The full dose group experienced a significant reduction in HbA1c, an indicator of blood sugar control, and low density lipoproteins (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. The study showed that consuming two ounces of nuts a day as a carbohydrate replacement improved both blood sugar (glycemic control) and "bad" cholesterol levels.
According to scientific research, studies carried out to date of large population samples do not link habitual consumption of nuts with obesity, but quite the opposite. Individuals who usually consume nuts are generally thinner than those who do not eat them, since they have a body mass index (BMI), a measure used in nutrition to classify people into obese, overweight, normal or underweight .
In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found a significant decrease in weight associated with an increase in nut consumption (New England Journal of Medicine, June 2011).
You can eat nuts, even if you are looking at your weight. Also, eating a handful of nuts a day can help curb your appetite.
Nuts are a nutrient dense food and a good source of dietary compounds of fiber, potassium and phenolics, which are linked to a number of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Dried fruits provide the same amount of fiber as fresh fruit. One tablespoon of raisins contains the same fiber as 27 grapes, can prevent digestive disorders and can be included in the recommended five-a day-intake of fruits and vegetables. Scientific research has shown that raisins are a concentrated source of antioxidants that help prevent the growth of bacteria that cause inflammation and gum disease.
The consumption of certain nuts have been shown to have important health benefits, such as improved laxative, which reduces serum cholesterol and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Prunes have been found to increase bone density. Recent research in postmenopausal women showed that the consumption of dried plums was linked to increased bone mineral density, which can prevent the development of osteoporosis.
The consumption of dried fruits is an effective way to increase the total intake of fruits and vegetables.