What healthy snack is best for my long-term health? Livestrong’s recent article entitled “The One Snack a Dietitian Wants You to Eat Every Day for Longevity” says that nuts are bundles of nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, plant-based protein and heart-healthy fats. These are all essential substances your body needs to function optimally now and for years to come. In fact, studies show that people who eat nuts daily live longer than those who don't, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
- Nuts Are Rich in Antioxidants. Nuts are high in antioxidants—the substances that protect your cells from the oxidative damage that contributes to the development of chronic diseases. The best antioxidant bang for your buck is Brazil nuts. Just eating one Brazil nut will give you all the selenium you need for an entire day. That’s an antioxidant-rich mineral that's connected to protection against chronic disease. It helps to repair DNA and reduce inflammation — and may play a part in preventing (or reducing your risk of) cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and thyroid disease.
- Nuts Promote a Healthy Heart. Eating nuts has been linked to reduced LDL cholesterol (i.e., the "bad" one), higher HDL ("good") cholesterol, and lower blood pressure (including stress responses). While all nuts contain heart-healthy fats, almonds are the best for the heart. They're high in vitamin E, fiber and omega-3 fats, which are all heart-protective.
- Nuts Support Brain Health. Nuts are also amazing for your brain. Almonds are linked to enhanced memory, pistachios are associated with preventing inflammation and macadamias are connected with supporting healthy brain function. However, as far as the ratio of omega-3 fats (especially a type called ALA, which has been linked to brain health and fighting inflammation), walnuts are at the best. Compared to other nuts, walnuts also have twice the antioxidants to help combat cognitive decline.
- They’re Good for Gut Health. Most nuts have both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are beneficial for gut health. Fiber is fundamental for a happy gut. It softens and bulks up your stool, which makes your poop easier to pass (combats constipation). This is especially important because your bowels are more likely to get backed up as you age. High-fiber diets also improve bowel health by reducing your risk of diverticular disease and colorectal cancer.
- Nuts Could Help With Weight Management. Eating nuts is a good way to get the nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that frequent nut eaters are less likely to put on pounds because nuts are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. These help stabilize blood sugar, keep your stomach satisfied and curb cravings, especially between meals. If you feel satiated, you're less likely to overeat.
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Reference: Livestrong (March 22, 2022) “The One Snack a Dietitian Wants You to Eat Every Day for Longevity”