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Live longer with just a handful of nuts a day

Studies have shown that people who eat a daily serving of nuts decrease their cancer risk by 15 per cent

brunch Updated: Apr 13, 2017 20:45 IST
Nuts are a good source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium(Shutterstock)

Sure, nuts are fatty, but their fats are good for you. That, combined with the vitamins and minerals they offer, can sort out some of the most prevalent health conditions in our country.

Keep Type-2 diabetes at bay

India has 69.2 million people living with diabetes. But the risk can drop nearly 40 per cent if you eat nuts. At 160 calories per serving, almonds contain six grams of protein and four grams of fibre, which help stabilise blood glucose levels by improving insulin sensitivity after meals. They are also a good source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium, which act as strong anti-inflammatory agents.

Tip: Raw almonds are best. Soak them overnight to get rid of phytic acid that interferes with the absorption of key nutrients.

Walnuts are known for their anti-inflammatory properties (Shutterstock)

Overcome obesity

Nuts are high in fat, but also high in fibre and protein, so eating peanuts actually reduces your risk of obesity over time. Peanuts contain about seven grams of protein per serving and are a good source of many B vitamins. They help relieve water retention and bloating, and their fat helps break down existing fat by activating fat-burning pathways through the liver.

Tip: Oil roast or boil peanuts for maximum antioxidant benefits. But eat in moderation.

Almonds help stabilise blood glucose levels (Shutterstock)

Beat hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure affects 20-40 per cent of urban Indians. Eating foods rich in potassium, fibre and magnesium, and avoiding sodium- packed foods can help lower the risk.

Naturally low in sodium, and high in potassium, fibre and magnesium, pistachios have heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Studies show improvements in sleep, blood pressure, and a better response to stress when you have a handful of pistachios twice every day for four weeks.

Tip: Choose unsalted pistachios.

Pecans are rich in magnesium, which reduces inflammatory indicators in the body (Shutterstock)

Never get high cholesterol

According to Harvard School of Public Health, those who regularly eat nuts are at lower risk of developing heart attacks or heart disease. With the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid, walnut tops the list for fighting against high cholesterol.

Walnuts are known for anti-inflammatory properties and a role in heart health. They provide protein, fibre, magnesium and phosphorous, which help reduce fat.

Tip: Walnuts can turn rancid easily, so consume them fresh and raw after soaking them overnight.

Eating peanuts actually reduces your risk of obesity over time (Shutterstock)

Outsmart cancer

Studies have shown that people who eat a daily serving of nuts decrease their cancer risk by 15 per cent. Pecans contain different forms of vitamin E known for its antioxidant abilities, and oleic acid, a fatty acid that has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

They are rich in magnesium, which reduces inflammatory indicators in the body, and phytochemical substances that help remove cancerous toxic free radicals. They contain ellagic acid that inhibits DNA binding of certain carcinogens.

Tip: Pecans, a superfood, will perform better when you lead a stress-free, active lifestyle with proper sleep and a mostly plant-based diet.

Pistachios have heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (Shutterstock)

Hold back premature ageing

The New England Journal of Medicine published findings that show that eating a handful of nuts a day could possibly extend your life. Coconut is loaded with antioxidants that protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. It also contains antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help cure almost every known infection and disease.

Coconut water contains vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, heal wounds, protect the skin from damage and show significant anti-ageing effects. It also contains a protein called cytokines that encourages cell growth and cell activation.

Tip: You can enjoy the raw tender coconut or use the oil for cooking. But don’t let the possibility of growing younger pass you by.

Eat walnuts raw and whole (Shutterstock)

Fight Infertility

The all-rounder walnut is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, B vitamins and proteins that are essential for endometrial health. They enhance sperm quality, sperm vitality, motility and structure. They are rich with arginine, an amino acid that has been shown to increase sperm production.

Tip: Eat walnuts raw and whole.

Battle Depression

Nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that can boost serotonin levels in the brain, helping improve your mood and increase motivation. Cashews are a good source of zinc. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it’s important to get some every day.

Tip: Roast the cashews at 130˚ C for 15 to 20 minutes before consumption.

Lovneet Batra is a well-known nutritionist and TV personality.

From HT Brunch, April 2, 2017

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First Published: Apr 01, 2017 21:48 IST