The New England Journal of Medicine study showed that as little as a handful—or approximately one ounce—of nuts per day could be the difference between living to 80 and living to 90. It doesn’t matter what type you eat but each variety has it’s own advantages. Eating about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of nuts per day is a good amount to reap the benefits, according to Dr. Paul of theNew England Journal of Medicine.
In general, it is best to eat nuts raw since high temperatures can destroy some of their nutritional components. If you aren’t a fan of raw nuts, try dry-roasted, unsalted nuts.
The fountain of youth may not be full of water, but walnuts! Listen to this litany of anti-aging benefits: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which significantly boost memory and recall. They reduce inflammation and promote more relaxed, dilated blood vessels, which can turn back the time on heart disease.They also lower your cholesterol and make your blood less likely to clot.”
A staple on many “superfoods” lists, walnuts have earned their place for good reason. They contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid, know for its anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts also provide 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, as well as minerals like magnesium and phosphorous. Studies show that in addition to their heart health benefits, walnuts can also help with weight management, diabetes and may even help reduce certain types of cancer. One study from the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who consumed walnuts tended to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that walnuts might lower both total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
The perennial ballpark favorite, the peanut, is an anti-aging grand slam. These tasty legumes contain Resveratrol (also found in red wine and dark chocolate), which is a potent antioxidant known to help slow aging and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Peanuts also contain folic acid and vitamin E for improved brain health. If you prefer your peanuts in butter form, go ahead and indulge in the all-natural variety of peanut butter, just make sure there is no added sugar on the label and enjoy a spread rich in vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese.
Interesting that despite their name, peanuts aren’t really nuts. They belong to the legume family and grow underground. Peanuts contain about 7 grams of protein per serving and are a good source of many B vitamins. This makes them an excellent plant-based protein for your meals and snacks. The magnesium content in peanuts has been linked to cardiovascular health. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who consumed magnesium-rich foods, like peanuts, had fewer strokes. They also provide phytosterols, compounds that naturally lower cholesterol, as well as Resveratrol, the same heart-healthy compound found in red wine.
These jumbo nuts are high in selenium which helps the body produce illness-fighting antioxidants. They’re also rich in zinc, which helps in new skin production (this is particularly beneficial if you’re prone to cuts and scrapes, as skin becomes more fragile with age). Brazil nuts are also potentially helpful in preventing prostate cancer.
Almonds have all of the nutritional benefits of their nutty brethren, but with the highest amount of healthy vegetable protein (6 grams per serving), they’re also the best for maintaining a healthy diet. Almonds are one of the lower calorie nuts, at 160 calories per serving, almonds contain about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, more than most other tree nuts. They’re also a good source of vitamin E,( which boost memory) copper and magnesium. Ounce for ounce, almonds are the nut highest in calcium, with 75mg per ounce (about a quarter of the calcium in a glass of milk). Almonds are believed to play a role in weight management, heart health and even diabetes prevention. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that consuming almonds helped improve insulin sensitivity in people with pre-diabetes. The study also indicated that adding almonds to meals and snacks can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Delicious and versatile, pecans can also help keep you healthy. At just under 200 calories per 1-ounce serving, pecans provide 3 grams of dietary fiber and over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc. According to the USDA, pecans are ranked among the top 20 foods for antioxidant capacity. Some research suggests that antioxidants play a role in reducing a variety of chronic diseases from cancer to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease to vision loss. Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid. Although more research is needed, early studies indicate that oleic acid, the same type of fatty acid found in olive oil, may help suppress a gene thought to trigger breast cancer. For your dietary pleasure, pecans are perfect in dinner entrees as well as desserts.
Along with being one of the nuts containing the lowest amount of calories and fat, pistachios are also a nutritional powerhouse. This little nut is an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and contains other essential vitamins and minerals. Studies show that pistachios may have important health benefits and play a role in heart health, weight management and even lowering mortality rates. Researchers at Harvard University found that eating a daily handful of nuts, like pistachios, may boost health and longevity. In-shell pistachios are a wonderful snack because it takes you longer to eat them. Also, being able to see the discarded shells helps to provide you visual feedback of how many you have eat.
One serving of cashews (about 160 calories) provides 4 grams of protein and is high in unsaturated fat. Cashews are also an excellent source of essential nutrients like copper and magnesium, plus they provide some iron as well. Here’s a piece of trivia that you probably didn’t know: The cashew “nut” is actually a seed that is harvested from the cashew fruit. Research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that higher nut consumption is linked with lower mortality, which means eating cashews and other nuts may help you fight off some diseases and live longer.