Nuts are well known for centuries for their health benefits and health-restoring properties and can be enjoyed in all kinds of diets. One can’t help but munch on their favourite ones. The best part—a wide range, from peanuts to cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia, we have a lot to choose from. For many years people on a weight loss diet kept their diets free of nuts, due to its high-fat content. We are often in a dilemma if we should include them in our daily diet or not. Several recent studies have mentioned the group of people who consumed them lost more body fat than those who didn’t. Even though the type of fat present in them is good for us, they are still high in fat and calories content.
Hence nuts should be consumed in moderation if one aims to maintain their weight. The nuts mainly contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA/ PUFA) often known as good fats. One fistful or an ounce of them provides 150-200 calories, of which the majority comes from the heart-healthy fats like MUFA. Regular consumption of this snack may help prevent us from gaining weight over the years and decrease our risk of becoming obese. Let’s nut out the possible explanations of why eating nuts can be a friendly part of your diet.
Fats present in nuts are a combination of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). MUFAs are known to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL). PUFAs are essential fatty acids that need to be supplemented through our diets as they are not produced in the body. Diets that include foods that are excessively processed and refined are unable to provide these healthy fats, and this deficit can lead to several health problems. Include a handful of nuts in your diet to ensure that you naturally get these essential fats.
Nuts are a good source of protein, fibre, and fats which altogether promote the feeling of fullness (satiety). Higher satiety will prevent unwanted binging, which is the most common reason for weight gain. Hence it makes nuts a healthier snacking option over the processed, fried, sugar/oil loaded food as snacks.
Promotes Slow Eating
A November 2015 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Obesity found a positive association between eating rate and body weight. It says that people who eat fast tend to weight more. Nuts require a lot of chewing, so much so that you have less time and energy to eat more food. This can be useful for weight loss and weight management.
Nuts have a tough, fibrous structure, so tough that it is not completely broken down during digestion. Some of the fat is excreted from our body in the form of faeces. The number of calories we absorb from eating nuts might be between 5 to 30 per cent less than what we know. This might be one of the reasons to prevent weight gain.
Improving Overall Health
Due to the good fats, nutritional composition, and bioactive constituents, nuts are known to improve cardiovascular health, cancer, osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, and asthma.
Nuts are rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, zinc and selenium which help in the prevention of heart ailments and cancer. Phytosterols and other phytochemicals present in them help control cholesterol levels too. Apart from healthy fats, nuts are a good source of calcium and magnesium, which help improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis in the future.
Lastly, an often misunderstood fact is that consuming related products such as peanut butter or roasted nuts are equally beneficial. But the hard fact is that these products may rather worsen the health condition. Peanut butter, for instance, is loaded with saturated fats which is unhealthy for our body to consume. Similarly, sugary nut bars or roasted almonds and cashews, are loaded with other elements like sugar, saturated fats, and oil. Thus, choose wisely!
The article courtesy goes to Afaaf Shaikh, nutritionist at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi