Nuts and seeds are an essential part of one’s diet. They provide some of the most important nutrients that fortify and ensure good health and wellness. Here are some of the best varieties to add to your daily menu.
These nuts are vital for a healthy brain and body because they support its development and protect against diabetes by improving blood fat, and lower cholesterol levels.
Additionally, they help create and maintain strong bones and teeth due to high mineral content.
They are some of the best natural substances for a healthy heart because they contain relevant nutrients. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same heart healthy good fats found in olive oil that help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Researchers who studied data from the Nurses Health Study found that by simply substituting nuts for an equivalent amount of carbohydrates in one’s diet resulted in a 30% reduction in heart disease risk.
They also concluded that there was a 45% risk reduction when fat from nuts was substituted for saturated fats that come from meat and dairy foods.
Also, when almonds were used as fat sources in human trials, LDL cholesterol was lowered from 8 to 12%.
Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition stated that when cholesterol lowering foods like almonds are included in an overall healthy diet the beneficial effects are cumulative. 12 patients who were diagnosed with high LDL cholesterol levels and ate a diet that included, almonds, plant sterols, soy protein, and soluble fiber (beans, pears and steel cut oats) reduced their LDL after only two weeks.
Almonds also contain the vital antioxidant vitamin E, along with magnesium and potassium. Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is associated with heart attacks and that right after a heart attack the lack of it promotes extended free radical injury to the heart.
Potassium is essential for regulating blood pressure and maintain normal heart function.
Almonds are also beneficial for skin care, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system, as well as improving energy levels.
Like almonds, cashews are vital in maintaining a healthy heart.
These nuts help lower the risk of coronary disease and contain the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats needed to reduce triglyceride levels (high triglyceride levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease).
Cashews are also high in copper, which improves skin and hair health, as well as magnesium, which improves both the substance and flexibility for bones and joints.
These nuts can also aid in the prevention of gallstones and weight loss and are high in antioxidants. Finally, they have the amazing ability to filter the sun’s UV rays and therefore protect us from macular degeneration.
Although not actually a “nut”, peanuts are yet an amazing legume that can help fight depression, regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of gallstones or gallbladder diseases, and fight Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, nerve disease, and other various infections.
They are rich in energy and packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Just one large handful or cup of peanuts can provide the daily recommended levels of protein, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Peanuts lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, fight stomach cancer, reduce the risk of stroke, and reduce the risk of weight gain.
Yes, you guessed it – walnuts are amazing!
They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Additionally, they increase sperm quality, aid in digestion and reduce the risk of diabetes, constipation, breast cancer, prostate cancer, weight gain, and heart disease.
Walnuts are also great for your skin and hair as well as sleep quality.
Not convinced yet?
Some studies have even shown that eating walnuts just three times a week will increase the length of your life.
Because flaxseeds are so tiny, they are very easy to add to whatever dish you eat or smoothie you make and they can be eaten whole or in ground form.
They have an incredibly high omega-3 fatty acid content and they are the #1 natural source for omega-3s.
Flaxseed can also help with the reduction of hypertension, skin cancer, depression, and cholesterol levels, as well as aid in the prevention of liver disease and prostate cancer – amazing benefits for one tiny seed!
They also aid in digestion and weight loss (as though the aforementioned benefits aren’t enough to make this seed sound amazing)!
Pumpkin seeds do best in increasing your intake of various minerals and vitamins.
They boost magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin K levels, just to name a few.
One ounce of these seeds provides enough protein to meet 18% of the daily required intake. They are effective at naturally improving a person’s mood, as well as increasing immunity and prostate health and decreasing the risk of diabetes and some forms of cancer.
Like flaxseeds, sesame seeds are tiny, but have huge benefits packed into such a small form.
They aid in the prevention of diabetes and cancer, as well as lower cholesterol.
These seeds can also protection against DNA damage caused by radiation, protect the liver from alcohol damage, prevent wrinkles, improve eye and oral health, and lessen anxiety.
The benefits don’t stop here!
They are also rich in minerals that provide relief from arthritis, migraines, and menstrual cramps, as well as the prevention of colon cancer and osteoporosis.
The last, but not least, of the seeds on this list are just as beneficial as the previous ones.
Sunflower seeds control cell damage (helping in the prevention of cancer), reduce inflammation and anxiety, naturally lift moods and emotions, and protect the skin.
The seeds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, copper, zinc, folic acids, and calcium.