Toasted pecans for salad instead of croutons. Chopped walnuts into pancake mix, peanut butter as an addition to a vegetable snack. These are just some of the tips on how to use nuts and thus treat yourself to something extra for your health and at the same time enrich your menu with new tastes.
However, the benefits of nuts go much further. They contain fiber, vegetable proteins, vitamin E, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even states that “a handful of nuts a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
“Nuts are really nutrient dense and can benefit heart health. Just one handful can lower bad cholesterol, improve blood pressure and reduce inflammation, which is good for the heart,” nutritionist Sharon Palmer told CNN.
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So how many nuts should we eat to do the best for our heart health? Generally speaking, a handful a day is ideal – however, since everyone’s handful is a different size, you can stick with 1/3 cup.
What about macadamia nuts or cashews?
In the FDA report, some other types of nuts, such as macadamias or pecans, were originally intentionally left out because they have a higher concentration of cholesterol-raising saturated fat than others. However, later findings showed that the content of monounsaturated fats is so high that these nuts are also beneficial for health.
Cashews are a separate chapter, which the FDA has not yet added to the list, although various studies point to the fact that they can also reduce harmful cholesterol.
Other health benefits of nuts
And the list of positive effects of nuts on the human body is growing. In addition to healthy fats and proteins, it also fills you up well. They are also considered a suitable “tool” for weight management.
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“Consumption of nuts can even be a good prevention of diabetes, protection against cancer, it is also good for brain health. Some nuts are associated with gut health, improved fertility or reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease,” adds Palmer.
The nutrients contained in almonds, for example, also benefit the skin by reducing facial wrinkles and improving skin tone.
Just a handful, not a whole bowl
Regardless of how much it is recommended to include nuts in the diet, it is not advisable to consume them without restrictions. They have a high fat content and are therefore high in calories. So it’s definitely better to have just a handful as above than a whole bag.
At the same time, you will get the most benefits from them if you include them in your diet long-term. And you definitely don’t have to limit yourself to just eating nuts. Pistachios can be used playfully as part of basil or garlic pesto or as an addition to a salad, while toasted pieces of pecans “make a show” in dishes with rice, for example. They can also be combined well with cooked vegetables, they are also great as an ingredient in yogurt.
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