For many years, nuts have gotten a bad rap for being high in fat. But in reality, nuts should be a vital part of our diet, as they are high in monounsaturated fats that help keep us heart-healthy and disease-free. Healthy nuts are also great sources of protein, minerals and other life-enhancing nutrients. Scientific studies now show that different types of nuts and seeds may support factors that help prevent heart disease, weight gain and the accumulation of LDL cholesterol.
All nuts should be organic, eaten in their raw state, and not irradiated or roasted. In no particular order, here is my list of the five healthiest nuts you should add to your diet.
A small handful of almonds gives you almost 25% of your daily needs for magnesium, and more bone-strengthening calcium as an equal amount of cow milk.
They are also high in many antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium. Studies show that almonds may play an important role in preventing colon cancer due to their high fiber content. Almonds also helps lower negative forms of cholesterol in the blood stream.
One of the best nuts on earth, walnuts may actually support your brain function. Studies show that consumption of walnuts is related to heart-health, better cognitive function, as well as the reduction of skin and bone conditions. Packed full of an antioxidant known as ellagic acid, researchers have shown that walnuts contain 16 disease-fighting polyphenols.
Recent clinical studies show that pecans significantly lower cholesterol. Pecans are also a great source of over twenty essential vitamins and minerals.
4. Brazil Nuts
High in heart-healthy nutrients and minerals like copper, niacin, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, and selenium, studies on Brazil nuts show that they are a protein-packed snack that may aid in the prevention of breast cancer.
5. Cedar Nuts
Siberian cedar nuts, originating in Russia, hold 70% of the essential amino acids your body needs. They also contain high amounts of vitamins A, B and D, and tocopherol-containing vitamin E. This exotic nut also contains a fatty acid similar to fish oil, which is known for reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol, keeping the arterial walls free of disease-causing inflammation and plaque.
Raw nuts are a big part of my diet and pack more energy than any other food. They make a healthy snack that is low in calories and can be a great addition to your diet.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM