Nuts have long been considered a healthy snack choice with many benefits. Aside from being a good source of protein and fiber, nuts also contain monounsaturated fats and other substances that are good for the heart. Let’s learn types of nuts to reduce heart disease risk.
What is the difference between nuts and beans? Let’s see the explanation below!
Grains, seeds, beans, and nuts are one family, which is seeds! Grains are seeds from grass, for example, wheat, corn, rice. Beans are seeds from legumes, for example, kidney beans, peas, soybeans, etc. Nuts are seeds from trees, for example, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. Already know the difference? Don’t get confused Healthizen!
Then how do nuts help heart health? Eating nuts can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol which is responsible for the development of plaque in blood vessels. Eating more nuts also helps minimize inflammation in the blood which can cause fatal heart attacks. Another plus, nuts can be a snack that is delicious, inexpensive, easy to carry.
Nuts are also excellent sources of protein and often have a high content of L-arginine. This amino acid is the precursor of the endogenous vasodilator, nitric oxide (NO), so nut intake might help improve vascular reactivity. People who eat nuts two or more times a week can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 47 percent compared to those who have never or rarely consume nuts.
Well, curious about what kind of nuts to reduce heart dissease risk?
Here are the best choices!
Instead of snacking on sweet foods, it’s better to choose almonds. Its content of nutrients can actually help keep the heart healthy to reduce facial wrinkles. Read more about a 16 weeks study of almonds daily consumption here.
Almonds contain vitamins and fiber which are very good for heart and skin health. Instead of eating fried foods or chocolate, just choose roasted almonds for a daily snack.
A clinical trial conducted by the American Heart Association shows that consume almonds can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol (Low-Density Lipoprotein) of the body. Almonds contain vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, monounsaturated fat, protein, and iron. An ounce of 28 grams of almonds contains 162 calories.
Almonds contain the highest-fiber when compared to other nuts. It is also the richest in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. The magnesium content in almonds is also useful for launching and increasing blood flow while controlling the distribution of oxygen along with nutrients throughout the body.
Read more about the power of almond, protein for building muscle here.
In addition to its delicious taste, pistachios are also able to provide health benefits. In 28 grams of pistachios, there are 159 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat (90 percent of healthy fat), 8 percent of potassium, 14 percent of phosphorus, 24 percent of vitamin B6, 16 percent of thiamine, 18 percent copper, and 17 percent manganese.
Pistachios can protect the heart by reducing cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Daily consumption of pistachios reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Pistachios have the strongest effect of all nuts tested for reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Besides being able to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, pistachios also contain good fats and can help increase HDL levels in the body. Pistachios are one source of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid which is a powerful antioxidant.
Pistachios are very good for people with heart disease. Compared with other commonly consumed nuts, pistachios are the richest source of phytosterols. The compounds have LDL cholesterol-lowering effects. So if you suffer from high cholesterol it is good to consume it regularly.
Another plus, in these nuts there are also vitamin A, vitamin E, and lutein which can help reduce the accumulation of fatty plaque in blood vessels and improve the work of the cardiovascular system. Among nuts, pistachios have the highest lutein and zeaxanthin content. It is beneficial for our eyes’ health.
Read more about benefits of eating rainbow fruits and vegetables here.
The nuts contain 90 percent healthy fats. The content of antioxidants, phytosterols, and unsaturated fatty acids is good for supporting heart health. In addition, the amino acid called l-arginine content in pistachios is also able to prevent the hardening of the arteries and blood clots.
“Only a handful of walnuts can reduce the risk of heart disease significantly,” said Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State University, Pennsylvania. Researchers were trying to identify which parts of the walnut which provides more health benefits.
A total of 15 participants with high cholesterol were given four different foods by the researchers. These foods include two handfuls of peeled walnuts (85 grams), 6 grams of walnut skin, 34 grams of walnut whose fat has been removed, or 3 tablespoons of walnut oil (51 grams).
“Our study shows, the oil in walnuts can maintain blood vessel function significantly, four hours after participants consume it,” said study leader, Claire Berryman. “Walnut oil can also maintain endothelial cell function which plays an important role for blood vessel flexibility,” he added.
According to the researchers, walnuts contain vitamin E and omega 3 which can reduce cholesterol. Consuming 43 grams of walnuts every day can reduce total LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
Other benefits, walnuts can reduce the level of apolipoprotein B, which is a strong genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease. Berryman said, “The implications of this finding could improve dietary strategies to fight heart disease.”
Besides containing the highest antioxidants from other types of nuts, walnuts also help protect the body from cell damage that plays a role in heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. Walnuts are the richest in omega-3 fatty acids that can fight inflammation. This type of good fat functions as an anti-inflammatory agent helps reduce plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. Consuming walnuts can improve the function of arteries and small blood vessels in the body. Make sure to not remove the skin because it contains phenol.
One ounce of hazelnut (28 grams) contains 176 calories and a variety of nutrients, namely:
4.7 gr carbohydrates
4.2 gr protein
17 gr fat
2.7 gr fiber
1.7 mg of manganese
4.2 mg of vitamin E
0.2 mg of thiamine
0.5 mg of copper
45.6 mg of magnesium
0.2 mg of vitamin B6
31.6 mcg folate
81.2 mg of phosphorus
1.3 mg of iron
4 mcg of vitamin K
190 mg of potassium
0.7 mg of zinc
Hazelnut also contains a number of vitamin C, niacin, and calcium.
Hazelnuts contain high levels of antioxidants and healthy fats. The nutrients contribute to maintaining cell health and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
A study conducted for one month with research subjects as many as 21 people showed that consuming hazelnuts as much as 18-20% of total daily calorie intake had a positive effect on the body. The results showed that cholesterol, triglyceride, and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels were significantly reduced. In addition, some participants also experienced improvements in heart blood vessel health and inflammation in the blood.
Other similar studies have also shown the same effect on heart health, which shows a decrease in blood lipid levels. The researchers also concluded that the levels of fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium in hazelnuts help the body to normalize blood pressure.
High levels of antioxidants and healthy fats make hazelnuts a reliable snack to maintain cell health and reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, triglycerides, LDL while curing inflammation.
A study shows that a person who consumes hazelnuts with or without the skin, the level of oxidative stress in the body decreases sharply compared to those who do not consume it. The majority of antioxidants in hazelnuts are in the skin. Therefore, it is recommended to consume them in their entirety.
Macadamia nuts are apparently able to help maintain heart health. The reason is there is a content of healthy unsaturated fats that have cardioprotective properties so that it can reduce cholesterol levels and can help cleanse the artery.
In a study conducted in April 2008 in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that fatty acids contained in macadamia nuts can affect serum lipids and lipoproteins, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Being a source of oleic acid and palmitoleic acid, macadamia nuts contain polyphenol compounds that have many health benefits. Macadamia nut oil contains nearly 20 % of this lipid.
Another experiment in Hawaii also showed the same thing. Macadamia nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease. Not quite up there. A study at Newcastle University, which involved subjects with high cholesterol levels, found that respondents who ate macadamia nuts showed significant reductions in blood serum cholesterol, total blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood clots.
Macadamia contains about 86% monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for reducing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, total blood triglycerides, and the occurrence of blood clots. Macadamia can also affect serum lipids and lipoproteins, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eating a handful of peanuts helps reduce blood sugar levels and helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the body. The reason, peanuts are a source of monounsaturated fat.
Peanuts contain vitamin E, folic acid, protein, manganese, biotin, fiber, magnesium, monounsaturated fat, and are rich in antioxidants. This nutrient content plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. Eating fiber-rich foods improve blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Read more about cracking the obesity code here.
Active substances present in peanuts are also able to work to improve heart performance by increasing its ability to pump blood. Thus it can reduce the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.
Research conducted by Pennsylvania State University states that the habit of eating nuts reduces triglyceride levels and helps improve blood vessel function. “Peanuts are a healthy snack when eaten as part of a healthy diet. Individuals who consume peanuts more than 2 times a week have a lower risk of coronary heart disease” said the lead researcher, Xiaoran Liu.
For this study, the research team observed 15 respondents who were overweight. Half of them consumed three ounces of peanuts in the form of shake drinks, while the other half consumed drinks without peanut content.
The results showed that people who consumed peanuts drinks had a healthier profile of blood fat, blood sugar, and insulin levels. In addition, they also have better blood vessel function, compared to those who do not consume them. This study shows that peanut consumption can actually be beneficial for blood vessel health.
How to make the peanut milk
Grind one volume of raw peanuts with 6 volumes of water for 30 min
Not only does Pecan make cakes delicious, but it can also help improve heart health. Rich in antioxidants, pecans can help prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming pecans can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels up to 33%
Pecans are rich in flavonoid polyphenol antioxidants which are beneficial for heart health. In fact, the polyphenol content in pecans is higher than almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
In addition, pecans contain high levels of gamma-tocopherol. Gamma-tocopherol is a form of vitamin E that is good for the body. High levels of gamma-tocopherol in processed foods pecans can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which is a risk factor for heart disease. So do not be surprised if these pecans are very good for preventing heart disease.
That’s the kind of nuts you consume to maintain good heart health. Nevertheless, nuts also have shortcomings, which are high in calories. So, it is still important to limit the portion when consuming it. Choose processed nut products with less salt, sugar, and additional oils.
8. Cashew Nuts
Cashews contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The content can help reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood. Relatively low levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. In addition, other vitamins and minerals contained in cashews, such as potassium, vitamin E, and B6, and folic acid can also help the body fight heart disease.
That’s the kind of nuts you can consume to maintain good heart health. Nevertheless, nuts are high in calories. So, it is still important to limit the portion when consuming it. Choose products without excess salt, sugar, and additional oils.
Have you added nuts to your weekly diet? What are your favorite nuts? Please add your comment and I will be more than happy to reply to your comment.