According to WHO, 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2012, being the first cause of death in developing and industrialized countries, representing 31% of global deaths in the world.
Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases have a key element on a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol. This is the reason why nuts are pivotal when looking after a healthy heart. Scientific studies, such as the PREDIMED trial (“Primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases with Mediterranean Diet”), showed that daily consumption of nuts might reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 30 %. Here are 5 reasons why nuts are a good option for preserving a healthy heart.
- Benefits of nuts can be attributed to their multiple components such as fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, arginine, plant sterols, and phytochemical compounds, among others. Although the fat profile differs from one to another, nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) and have a low proportion of saturated fats. Variety is so wide (walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, macadamias, pine nuts) that consumers have plenty of choices to combine them within a balanced diet.
- Besides providing nutrients, nuts may also improve our health significantly and reduce the risk of suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. As a matter of fact, regular consumption of nuts has been associated to a reduction between 7 and 10% in “bad cholesterol” (LDL).
- There is a popular belief that nut consumption can lead to weight gain. However, when they are eaten in moderation, their effect is far from just adding some extra kilos to our body weight. First of all, nuts have a satiating power, as they are rich in fats and proteins. While eating them, we forbear from taking other food items. Secondly, the energy provided by nuts is not entirely assimilated in the organism. Between 10 and 20% of nuts fat will never reach the blood.
- Nuts can be easily introduced in our daily habits. A handful of nuts per day (28 g), seven days a week, represent the recommended portion to take advantage of their healthy benefits. Nuts can be added to breakfast options or can be taken as a healthy snack in our working day.
- Nuts work wonders with many dishes belonging to different kind of culinary cultures. Mediterranean diet, highly appreciated by doctors and nutritionists, is based on nuts, among other components. Apart from being healthy, applied with imagination nuts can transform our menus into state-of-the-art cuisine.