If you’re looking for a nut that’s also a nutritional powerhouse, don’t let those popular peanuts fool you — they’re not nuts, but legumes. Instead, consider cracking open these five protein-rich tree nuts to nosh your way to a healthier you.
These teardrop-shaped nuts, both sweet and raw, are all-stars in the nut kingdom. Delivering delicious flavor and a favorite of fitness and beauty devotees, these gluten-free kernels are jam-packed with B-complex vitamins, like riboflavin and folates, that boost cellular growth. Add heavy doses of monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber and you also can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, prevent coronary heart disease, as well as colon cancer and constipation. Beauty devotees swear by almond oil’s ability to rejuvenate skin and hair by combating damaging oxygen-free radicals. Read more here.
Did you know there are 30 varieties of these all-natural snacks? Yet there is only one universal truth: antioxidant walnuts contain the highest level of omega-3 of all nuts. These essential fatty acids as are known to reduce the risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Walnuts also receive props in the medical community for their ability to boost cognitive functions. It’s no wonder, then, these unshelled nuts look a little like the human brain. Lean more at www.walnuts.org.
Frequently found in Mediterranean diets, these green-hued nuts are a go-to for diabetics because they stem a tissue-damaging process called glycation. For the rest of us, pistachios’ beta carotene, just like carrots, improves your vision function. Dieters beware: these seemingly harmless nuggets are high in calories (more than 550 calories per half cup). However, that may good news for underweight folks looking to tack on an extra pounds. For more information, visit webmd.
Strengthen your teeth and respiratory health with these low-calorie, starchy nuts, best known for roasting on an open fire. Chestnuts, an antioxidant high in vitamin C, also help repair tiny tears and leaks in blood vessels. European and Asian recipes frequently draw on these nuts, jam-packed with minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc and potassium, which thwart anemia and high blood pressure while boosting bone metabolism. Read more at www.livestrong.com.
Need some sleep? Crunch a handful of magnesium-rich hazelnuts, also known as filberts, to catch a little shuteye. These natural sleep inducers also rank number one among tree nuts for their high folate content, which helps prevent neural tube birth defects. Also, complex nutrient compounds, called proanthocyanidin, reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and blood clots. Discover more benefits at www.oregonhazelnuts.org.
Remember, even these super foods can be turned into a dietary sabotage. Consume nuts that are raw, unsalted and not drenched in cooking oil to achieve maximum health benefits.
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