Centuries ago, hunters and gatherers relied on seeds and nuts as a staple of their diet. And for good reason; They contain a secret powerhouse of nutrients and minerals that help promote weight loss, prevent diabetes and help keep you living a longer and more productive life. They are also heart-healthy and should be included in your daily diet. Let’s take a closer look at why you should make nuts and seeds an important part of your everyday meal plans.
Nuts and seeds are brimming with super nutrients and minerals that help regulate your blood glucose level. They contain a high amount of fiber which helps fill you up and keeps you fuller for a longer amount of time. Heart-healthy fats called mono- and poly-saturated fats help keep your immune system functioning properly and actually work to reduce inflammation throughout your body. Studies show that people who include nuts in their daily diet, actually tend to weigh less than their counterparts who don’t eat nuts and seeds each day. Even just a handful of these each day, can help keep your weight lower and fight off obesity and Diabetes. Studies conclude it’s because a diet that includes seeds or nuts causes you to eat less calories as the day progresses. Inside seeds and nuts are also minerals that help regulate the functions of your immune system and your blood. Nuts and seeds contain calcium which helps you have strong bones; magnesium which helps lower your risk of heart disease; and zinc and phosphorus which help give you the strength and energy you need to conquer your day. There’s also a ton of protein inside of your seeds and nuts, and proteins that provide the building blocks for your cells and life processes. You also need protein for energy. You’ll also find your seeds and nuts are packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and folate, all things that aid in the proper rejuvenation of your tissues each day.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Nuts and Seeds
We’ve already touched on a few of the ways that nuts and seeds are vital to your daily life and your future longevity. Here are 10 ways your body can benefit from putting a handful into each of your meals:
Lower your Risk of Cancer
Adding nuts and seeds to an already healthy lifestyle can help reduce your cancer risk or slow the progression of some types of cancer. This is due in part to the fact that nuts and seeds are packed full of antioxidants which studies have shown help to block free radicals that cause cancer in the body. They’re like little worker bees for your cells.
Heart-Healthy Fats Prevent Heart Disease
Unlike the unhealthy fats that you find in high-calorie meat, nuts and seeds contain healthy fats. Mono- and Poly-saturated fats help to reduce your cholesterol and reduce inflammation throughout your whole body. Magnesium and zinc also help to make sure your heart is healthy and functioning well.
Lowers the Risk of Obesity
Nuts and seeds help keep you fuller longer and scientists think this plays a role in keeping your weight under control by keeping your blood sugar stable. When your blood sugar is steady, you’re less likely to reach for a sugary, high-calorie snack, in turn keeping your weight level stable as well.
Keeps Blood Pressure in Check
Nuts and seeds are also low in sodium and calories and can help lower your blood pressure. A diet that contains too much salt can likely spike blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Both nuts and seeds are included on the DASH eating plan which helps keep blood pressure levels in a healthy range.
Lowering your risk for obesity, keeping your weight in check and making sure your blood sugar is stable can all reduce the risk that you’ll get diabetes.
Gives You Energy
Along with a healthy lifestyle and plenty of sleep, eating nuts and seeds can ensure you have a ton of energy. This is because they contain healthy carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats that provide the building blocks for your body to restore and rejuvenate.
Contains Plant Stanols
Plant Stanols are naturally-occurring in nuts and seeds and help lower your cholesterol by acting like cholesterol in your digestive track and fooling your body into thinking you have enough cholesterol. The real cholesterol then just leaves your body through the digestive process without getting absorbed.
Provides Essential Nutrients
Boosts your Immunity
The calcium, zinc, magnesium and folate found in nuts and seeds can help keep your immune system functioning properly. A great immune system helps to ward-off sickness and help you recover from sickness faster.
Gives you a Healthy Dose of Fiber
Nuts and seeds are high in fiber which help aid your digestive system in running smoothly. Both nuts and seeds help fight constipation and keep you on a regular cycle.
What Nuts and Seeds Should You Eat?
There are many seeds and nuts available that you can easily add to your diet. Each of these choices is a delicious option to get the right amount of protein and healthy fats. Cashews and Almonds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber and are a low-calorie option. Walnuts have heart-healthy fats that help prevent inflammation. Brazilian nuts contain selenium, which may protect against certain types of cancers. Peanuts promote brain health. Seeds that have amazing omega-3 benefits are sunflower seeds, flax seed, chia seed, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. These are small but are brimming with a ton of great benefits. You’ll want to watch out for beer nuts or chocolate nuts that have added salt and sugar which may counteract the healthy properties of the nut itself.
Tips to Help you Get More Seeds and Nuts in your Diet
If you’re wondering how many nuts and seeds you need to make up your daily intake, there are several ways you can insure you’re getting enough to prove beneficial to your body and immune system. The daily recommended intake of nuts and seeds is 1.5 ounces, or 3 tablespoons daily. It doesn’t take a whole lot to reap the heart benefits from nuts and seeds. These tips can help you add a little dose of something valuable to your plate each day:
- Sprinkle Everywhere. You can add nuts and seeds as a topper for your breakfast cereal, yogurt or your ice cream. Adding just a little can guarantee you’ll get an added dose of nutrition.
- Buy Snack Packs. As a cost-effective option, you can buy snack packs of nuts or seeds that give you a daily helping of needed nutrients. This also gives you a great on-the-go option when you’re heading to the gym or during the work day.
- Study Up. Not all seeds are created equal, so make sure you buy them at a reputable market or grocery store. Do not trust seeds and nuts from nature if you don’t know what they are.
- Try new options. Mix up your daily routine by trying a nut you’ve never tried before, like macadamia or pistachios! You might just find you love the new choices.
Nuts and seeds have been giving humans energy since the beginning of time. For years and years, they were a staple of a proper diet. By going back to your roots, you’ll find your body loves the healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein that seeds and nuts provide. They help everything from your body to your mind and they help build muscles and make you feel stronger. Anything that small that packs such a huge nutritional punch is worth paying attention to. Go ahead and make small changes today to your diet so that you can make sure your reaping the benefits of such amazing little powerhouses! Your heart thanks you!