Origins of Nuts
Apparently the origin of the nuts is not a certain one. There are different records found that say it might be European or from Persia.
What is a certainty it is that the Romans were responsible for spreading it around the world, making them famous.
Nuts were first brought to the Iberian Peninsula, where over the years, the Spaniards were responsible for moving it to France, England and also America. Right now, United States is the leading producer of almond nuts, China leads the production of walnuts and Turkey rule the hazelnut niche.
Nuts are some of the world’s healthiest oily fruits, having in their composition a myriad of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, from which you can get a lot of benefits. Nutritionists and doctors confidently recommend eating nuts whether as a snack between meals or as an ingredient in various dishes. By simply adding 30 grams of nuts in your daily food, your body will receive all the benefits of this natural food recommended in a balanced diet, thus helping you to lead a healthier life.
Why go nuts for nuts?
- Fatty acids – Nuts contain large amounts of Omega 6, Omega 3 ( poly-unsaturated acids ) and mono-saturated fatty acids – mainly oleic acid. They also contain saturated fatty acids but in small quantities.
- Proteins – between 14% and 16 %.
- Carbohydrates – in small amounts (10-12%)
- Mineral salts – The richness of minerals provided by walnuts is rare and complex. Nuts contain potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium and iodine. Potassium and phosphorus can be found in higher concentrations (dry walnuts exceed bananas in potassium concentration). Calcium is also found in high quantities (60-80% of milk’s concentration of calcium)
- Vitamins – Walnuts also contain significant amounts of vitamin E and carotene ( which is converted by the liver in vitamin A). The core of 7-12 nuts is enough for ensuring our daily requirement of vitamin E. They also contain B and C vitamins, but the concentrations in these ones are high.
Before starting to explore the benefits of nuts, we have some bad news: eating nuts leads to gaining weight! This means that you have to eat this food in moderation because it has a high caloric intake. Anyway, you don’t need to eat nuts in order to avail yourself of their properties : only 30 or 40 grams of nuts per day are enough.
Health benefits of nuts
Following a healthy diet, enriched with 30 grams of nuts per day, reduces by 30% the risk of cardiovascular diseases and decreases by 49% the chance of suffering a stroke. The credit is given to Omega 3 fatty acids which lower bad cholesterol levels and prevent arteries clogging, thus improving blood flow.
Prevent premature skin aging
Free radicals, strong rays of the sun, the wind, humidity and cold air – these are only some factors which hasten skin aging. Recent researches have shown that a handful of nuts a day can delay the signs of premature aging due to its high content of antioxidants. Antioxidant substances form a shield against harmful factors, thus protecting cells and prolonging their life.
Nuts can help in reducing not only the risk of prostate cancer but also breast cancer. In one study, people who ate 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts, for 18 weeks, had a significantly smaller risk of tumors and cancer prostate. In generally, eating nuts slows the growth of prostate cancer by 30 to 40 percent. According to another study, only two handfuls of nuts a day cut the risk of breast cancer in a half and slow tumor growth by 50 %.
Walnuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds including vitamin E, folic acid, melatonin, Omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Research show that eating walnuts improves mental health, including the increase of interferential reasoning in young people. Another study found out that eating foods rich in antioxidants like nuts helps in reducing the vulnerability of oxidative stress that occurs mostly with aging. Also, eating nuts can increase health span, improving the cognitive and motor functions of the brain.
Adding healthy amounts of nuts in your daily diet it can help you maintain your ideal weight for a long period of time. Studies show that those who include nuts in their diet, or replace some foods with nuts, they’re likely to lose about 1.4 pounds and half an inch on the waist. Eating walnuts is also associated with an increased satiety after only 3 days.
Improve men’s reproductive health
One of the lesser known benefits of nuts is their impact on male fertility. Adding 75 grams ( a little more than half a cup) of nuts daily, improves significantly the quality of sperm, including vitality and mobility.
Powerful and uncommon antioxidants
Antioxidants are crucial for health because it is believed that they help in controlling age growth. They also fight free radicals, which are the center of age- related deterioration.
More, nuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants, which can be found only in a few common foods. Nuts contain so powerful antioxidants that have the capacity to eradicate the free radicals that researchers have named as “incredible”.
Also, the polyphenol within the nuts may help in preventing liver damage.
The beneficial fats from within the nuts have proved to help the human organism, fighting against diabetes. They can improve the metabolic parameters in people with type 2 diabetes.
An overweight adult with type 2 diabetes who eat a quarter of a cup of walnuts per day have a significant reduction of insulin levels, compared with those who don’t include nuts in their diet. This insulin level reduction can be achieved in only 3 months.
In-depth benefits of nuts
During the middle ages, nuts were known for their healing properties in mental health issues. Because the shape of the nut which resembles a human brain, it might heal a sick mind. Nowadays, since has proven that nuts stimulate brain activity and it is recommended for those who spend a lot of intellectual effort.
Nuts are rich in zinc which is very helpful during growth, and also for treating nervous system disorders. For the stale and the weak, just grab a handful of nuts, crush them, and mix with a teaspoon of honey and after that, wash it all down with a glass of fresh fruit juice.
[highlight color=”orange”]The core of the nuts should be in a good condition, without any traces of mustiness. This mustiness harms the heart, also having a hepatotoxic and carcinogenic potential.
To increase your ability to memorize and learn, especially during exams or stressful tests, you can consume 5 to 10 nuts mixed with a teaspoon of honey. Take your time eating the mixture, chew and swallow slowly. The resulting paste from 8 green nuts and a teaspoon of honey is an energizer with beneficial effects in fighting arteriosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels and eliminating stress. Following this therapy for 3 to 4 weeks and will rid you of migraines as well.
Remember that the list of benefits we just met also applies to all kind of nuts, such as chestnuts, almonds, and peanuts. The key is that their consumption should be moderate in order to protect our silhouette.
Nuts side effects
Consumed in moderation, nuts should not have side effects, but there are certain situations in which we should be more cautious
Can cause weight gain
Stop thinking that a diet rich in nuts will get you rid of the extra pound because the effect can be just the opposite. If you don’t pay attention to the other foods you eat, trying to avoid as much as possible the other fats, nuts could lead you to a weight gain.
Nuts are allergenic
As all types of nuts, these ones may also trigger eczema, sneeze and itch – all the general symptoms of an allergy. If you have asthma, the allergy risk becomes bigger so, before starting a diet rich in nuts, you should be careful and ask a specialist doctor.
Nuts can make iron absorption harder
The folic acid is the responsible for blocking iron absorption. Being found in nuts, this compound can harm people already diagnosed with anemia.
Can cause digestive disorders
Being an important source of insoluble fiber, nuts can cause bloating and diarrhea, especially for those who have a predisposition to these manifestations.
Even though they have a strong allergenic potential and their consumption requires caution, nuts are rich in folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They are recommended for cardiovascular health, improving memory, studies also demonstrating that they can lower the risk of diabetes and cancer. With a wealth of properties, nuts should definitely be included in our daily diet. Only 10 nuts a day can have a beneficial effect on the human organism, fighting against the risk of diseases.
With all this being said, it is highly recommended to consume nuts and it’s really easy to combine them with almost any other foods. Bottom line, eating nuts can be one of the easiest things you can do to improve your overall health.