How would you like to find something that will protect you from cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, boost your energy levels, and keep your weight, BMI and waist size in check? Not only does such a magic ingredient exist, it is easily available and is inexpensive—nuts. A study published in the Nutrition Research found that those who consumed at least ¼ ounce [about 7g] tree nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, every day had higher intakes of energy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats [the good fats] and dietary fibre. They also had lower intakes of carbohydrates, cholesterol and sodium than those who did not eat nuts. However, these benefits were fully available only if you consumed nuts as nuts and not as part of products such as bread, bars, cereals or ice cream known as out-of-hand-nuts or OOHN.
“Adult consumers also had a 19 per cent decreased risk of hypertension and a 21 per cent decreased risk of low high-density lipoprotein [HDL—the good cholesterol] levels—both risk factors for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease,” stated Carol O’Neil, PhD, MPH, RD, lead author on the paper and Professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.
Dr O’Neil adds that those who consumed OOHN had lower body mass index [BMI] and weight compared to those who did not consume OOHN. And this was found across age groups.
“This suggests that OOHN consumers are better able to balance energy intake with energy output than non-consumers,” stated Dr. O’Neil.
This research comes on the heels of another study by the same authors, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, which showed that tree nut consumers specifically those older than 19 years had lower body weight, as well as lower BMI and waist circumference compared to non-consumers. The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in consumers than non-consumers, respectively.
“These new data, along with previous research, show once again that nuts can and should play an important role in a healthy diet,” adds Maureen Ternus, M.S., R.D., Executive Director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation [INC NREF].
Now that you know what the magic ingredients are, don’t forget to add nuts to your grocery shopping list and munch on a handful every day.