Friday, February 27, 2009

Go Nuts

Nuts contain important nutrients that are good for our heart. Some studies show that people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. According to recent clinical trials, consuming various nuts such as almond, pecan and walnut can lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Scientists believe that nuts contain various substances that possess cardio-protective effects such as omega 3 fatty acids. Eat a handful of mixed nuts a day, either added to meals or for snack, can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Almond is a rich natural source of vitamin E. Almonds are known to help lower LDL cholesterol when consumed in a healthy way. They are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as found in olive oil. Almond is a good ingredient for low-carbohydate or carbohydrate-restricted diet. Almond flour is gluten-free which is good for gluten-sentitive people or those who suffer from wheat allergies.

Pecan is a good source of protein and a good low unsaturated fat source of vitamin E. The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. A clinical research found that eating a handful of pecans each day may help lower cholesterol levels similar to what is often seen with cholesterol-lowering medications. Consuming nuts regularly can also help lower the risk of gallstones in women.

Walnut is a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Its health benefits range from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better brain function, to anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. An antioxidant "ellagic acid" found in walnuts supports the immune system. In one study, the participants followed walnut-rich diet were found to have lowered LDL cholesterol and Lp(a) ("lipoprotein a" is a lipid compound that increases blood clotting).

Start your handful of nuts this weekend, and let me know if you feel better.