The Nutty Affair: Reasons You Should Have Seeds & Nuts

08 Sep 2020

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Do you ever wonder why dietitians and fitness enthusiasts praise nuts and seeds so much? Sure they are healthy, but so are many other foods. So why the limelight on them? We’ll tell you the secret. 

These bite-sized snacks are nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with vitamins, fiber, proteins and healthy fats. They also make delicious snacks for those with heart issues and can boost overall health as well. And the best part, they are easily available! 

These tiny food bombs can be enjoyed with almost all kinds of diets – from keto to vegan. If these aren’t reasons enough for you to include nuts and seeds in your diet, we have a few more. But before we dive into the benefits, a word of caution – do not include any nut in your diet if you’re allergic to it. 

Loaded With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow the progression of the cell damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are important compounds required by the body, and seeds and nuts are full of them. Various studies have shown that antioxidants present in them can fight free radicals with greater capacity as compared to fish [1]. 

Enriched With Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids have several health benefits. From promoting heart and ocular health to enhancing cognitive functions and fighting autoimmune diseases, this nutrient can do it all [8]. The main sources of omega-3 are said to be fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, cod, etc. Due to this reason, vegetarians and vegans often lack omega-3. However, nuts and seeds contain a significant amount of this nutrient too, making it ideal for them.

Contribute To Weight Loss

Although nuts are rich in calories, some studies suggest our bodies don’t absorb them entirely. This is because a portion of fat stays trapped within the nut’s fibrous walls during digestion [2]. In fact, they can even help lose weight. These crunchy snacks promote fullness and suppress hunger, which help reduce food intake and aid in weight loss. A study found that people who included nuts in their diet lost about 2 inches off their waist, as compared to the ones who didn’t [3]. 

While seeds are known to have oil in them, they make for a healthy snack when consumed in moderation.

Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides

Nuts and seeds have impressive effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is because they have a high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids [4]. 

A 12-week long study performed on obese people found that those who included pistachios in their diet had 33% lower triglyceride levels [5]. Another study found that almonds and hazelnuts could increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while reducing the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) [6].

Can Improve Heart Health

Research suggests that people who are at risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases can reduce this risk by including these bite-sized snacks in their diet. They can lower the LDL and triglyceride levels, which otherwise can result in the build-up of plaques in the arteries. They also lower the risk of inflammation that is linked to various heart diseases [7].

Enhances Mood And Brain Function 

Several studies have found associations between nut and seed consumption and mood enhancement. Some studies also claim that eating nuts can improve memory and boost brain functions. Nutrients such as oleic acid, omega-3 (DHA), and vitamin E found in them play a major role in enhancing the mood and boost cognitive functions. [9]

References: 

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23130505/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18716179/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24075767/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20833992/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26269239/
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635#:~:text=It’s%20well%20known%20that%20omega,can%20lead%20to%20heart%20attacks.
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section9
  9. https://www.brainfutures.org/blog/which-nuts-are-best-for-brain-health/

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