I’ve always been a big fan of nuts and seeds. My family always had a bowl on the dining room table or in front of the TV where we could relax and crack open a variety of nuts for a quick snack. Seeds were a favorite to add to salads and other dishes. Lately I’ve been incorporating nuts and seeds into my diet for a variety of reasons. They taste great and they have tons of healthy benefits.
Here are a few of my favorite types of nuts and seeds and reasons that you should think about adding more of these fantastic foods to your diet.
Almonds-Who doesn’t love these little gems? Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are known to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Almonds also contain anti-oxidants which help mop up free radicals. They are known to reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal and their low glycemic index makes it a healthy food for diabetics.
Chia Seeds-Are you looking for an energy boost for your workout? Chia seeds pack in the protein to give you energy while also stabilizing blood sugar to reduce body fat and regulate appetite. They are a perfect workout supplement. They are also are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which improves your mood and brain health. They sure have come along way from the chia pet.
Walnuts-A walnut kind of looks like a small brain doesn’t it? Well, it’s quite a coincidence since walnuts contain many health benefits for the brain. Walnuts are known to help prevent dementia, reduce stress and are helpful for anti-aging. Walnuts contain a high amount vitamin E and also flavanoids which help destroy free radicals that can effect brain health. The absence of dangerous free radicals also improves the skin and helps lower blood pressure which reduces stress.
Hemp seeds-You can’t smoke these and you won’t get high, but the health benefits are amazing! Hemp can provide you with a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamin A, E and D, and many B vitamins. It is also rich in sodium, calcium, dietary fiber and iron. Hemp seeds are known to reduce inflammation which can improve heart and brain health. They are also a healthy appetite suppressant. Try them with your eggs in the morning. They add a rich nutty flavor to your breakfast.
Cashews-When it comes to cancer prevention, cashews should be included in your diet. Cashews contain proanthocyanidins which are flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your risk of colon cancer. Cashews are also rich in magnesium and copper which strengthens bones and and provides substance and flexibility to bones and joints.
Pumpkin seeds-Looking for a nutritional power house? Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which supports a healthy immune system, increases cell division and growth, improves sleep and mood, and sexual function. They are known to improve prostate health in men and to reduce symptoms of menopause and post menopause in women. I love to eat these raw or sprinkle them on my salad.
The bottom line, nuts and seeds are a healthy addition to your diet. They are delicious, nutritious, and they help you look and feel younger. A handful a day goes a long way, so why not go nuts? Or seedy? Ok, that was lame, but you get the picture.
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Have Happy Memorial Day!