Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and other tree nuts can help lower your cholesterol levels and protect your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids and other cardio-protective nutrients. They are a great snack, inexpensive, easy to store and easy to carry when you are away from home.
The only downside with nuts is that they are relatively high in calories, so it’s important to limit portions. But choosing nuts instead of a less healthy snack will help you get closer to heart-healthy eating.
How can nuts help your heart?
Research has shown that people who are at risk for a heart attack can reduce this risk by including nuts in their diet.
Research suggests that eating nuts can:
– Lower your cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) and triglyceride levels, which play a major role in plaque buildup in your arteries.
– Improve the health of the walls of your arteries
– Lower the level of inflammation, linked to heart disease
– Reduce the risk of developing blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack
Nuts may improve your heart health and reduce your risk of dying early from heart disease.
Heart-healthy nutrient treasures in walnuts
In addition to being high in protein, most nuts contain certain heart-healthy substances:
– Unsaturated fats.
The “good” fats in nuts, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, lower bad cholesterol levels.
– Omega-3 fatty acids.
– Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish, but many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are healthy fatty acids that help the heart by promoting the normalization of, among other things, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart attacks.
All nuts contain fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and make you feel full faster. In addition, fiber plays a role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
– Vitamin E.
Vitamin E helps limit plaque development in your arteries. The development of plaques in the arteries can lead to chest pain, coronary heart disease or heart attack.
– Plant sterols.
– Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Walnuts are also a good source of L-arginine, a substance that can help improve the health of arterial walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.
What is a healthy serving of nuts and how much to take per day?
A nut is made up for some of 80% fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it’s a lot of calories. This is why you should eat nuts in moderation. Ideally, you should use a handful of nuts as your unit of measurement. The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts per week. Choose raw nuts.
What kind of nuts to eat?
It doesn’t really matter what type of nut you choose to eat. Most nuts are generally healthy, although some may have more heart-healthy nutrients than others.
Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are very healthy. Keep in mind that you could negate the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they’re covered in chocolate, sugar, or salt.
walnut oil in the kitchen
Walnut oil is also a good source of healthy nutrients. It is the highest in omega-3. Consider using walnut oil in homemade salad dressing or in cooking. But be careful, when cooking with walnut oil, remember that it reacts differently to heat than vegetable oils. Walnut oils can become bitter and lose their omega 3s if overheated.