Yet another example of why Nature knows best. It wasn’t too long ago that health ‘experts’ were telling us not to eat too many nuts, because they were high in fat and were believed to contribute to overweight and obesity.
But now, a new study comes out that has shown just the opposite: eating nuts can actually help a person avoid gaining excess weight.
The study, published online in January, 2014 in the journal PLOS ONE, analyzed nut consumption of 803 adults from the United States. Participants were asked to record their consumption of tree nuts and peanuts, and whether tree nuts and peanuts were eaten together or separately.
The researchers, from Loma Linda University, found that overall nut consumption was linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome; but tree nuts, in particular, were found to be beneficial independently of demographic, lifestyle and other dietary factors.
Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe five risk factors that are associated with a much greater chance of a person developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. When an individual has three or more factors present simultaneously, a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made. Metabolic syndrome doubles the risk for cardiovascular disease and makes the risk for diabetes five times greater.
The research team found that consuming one ounce of nuts per week decreased the likelihood of a person developing metabolic syndrome by 7 percent. Based on that finding, the scientists theorized that eating two ounces of nuts a week could reduce metabolic syndrome risk by 14 percent.
The study also found that participants who ate the most nuts were significantly less likely to be obese. Along the same lines, people who ate more nuts had a lower prevalence of abdominal fat (abdominal obesity is one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome).
Tree nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats (‘good cholesterol’), and despite having a lot of protein, they have low levels of C-reactive proteins, which are the main cause of inflammation in bodily tissues, including the heart. Both tree nuts and peanuts are nutrient-dense foods, meaning that they contain a lot of nutrition for their size.
It’s possible that one of the reasons that eating nuts is so beneficial to our health is that they are very filling, and they are of course natural. When we eat a handful of them as a snack, that means we avoid eating less nutritious snacks, such as potato chips, or toxic snacks with artificial ingredients.
In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that people eat 1.5 ounces of nuts a day to help ward off cardiovascular disease. That amount is believed to be much higher than current consumption levels.
Tree nuts include: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, macadamias and hazelnuts.