Next time you find yourself at a party or wandering the snack aisle at your local grocery store, skip the chips and dip and head for the nuts. A handful of nearly any variety – from walnuts to pistachios – can arm you against chronic disease and add years to your life. In fact, the cities where people eat the most nuts are some of the healthiest. Read on for five more reasons to go nuts for your health.
1. They can keep you slim.
Despite being relatively high in calories, nuts can actually help you keep pounds off. In part, that’s because nuts are filled with healthy fats, plant-based protein and dietary fiber – all of which help keep you full and help you curb sugar cravings. Find out more reasons why eating healthy snacks like nuts can help you lose weight, from Sharecare expert Arthur Agatston, MD.
2. They’re a good-mood food.
If you’re feeling down, reach for a handful of your favorite nuts. Some studies say that certain varieties can help boost the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain. Almonds are packed with calcium and tryptophan, walnuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and nuts in general are a great source of B vitamins. All of these nutrients help the brain kick-start serotonin production – the neurotransmitter responsible for our good moods. Check out these other delicious dietary mood boosters.
3. They give you glowing skin.
Instead of piling on makeup and using multiple skin creams to look younger, try adding more nuts to your diet. The omega-3s in walnuts help reduce skin dryness and sensitivity. Nuts are also great sources of skin-loving vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from the sun, as well as other nutrients that help restore damaged skin cells. Nuts and nut oil even work wonders when applied to your skin. Try this natural Indian face mask recipe, made with almond oil, to help your skin look smooth and radiant.
4. They’re good to your heart.
Many nuts, including walnuts and pecans, are high in omega-3 fatty acids – which can help prevent and also treat heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and raising your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Nuts also improve the overall health of your arteries, reducing your risk for heart attack and blood clots. And in one study, eating one ounce of nuts per day decreased the incidence of heart disease by between 20 and 60 percent. Add some toasted nuts to your meals to reap all their heart health benefits.
5. Eating nuts can help you live longer.
Of all the benefits of nuts, the most impressive may be their role in helping you live longer. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who snacked on nuts seven or more times per week had a 20% lower mortality rate than those who didn’t, due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cardioprotective properties. Bonus: Adding nuts to your diet is also a great way to reduce your RealAge®.