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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eating Nuts Provides Several Health Benefits

An article in the January 2011 Harvard Health Letter listed several health benefits of eating nuts. Although the calories in nuts come mainly from fat, the type of fat is largely of the unsaturated healthful variety. The article cited a study done at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center showing that walnuts eaten at breakfast made subjects feel more full before lunch, potentially reducing caloric consumption. Other health benefits include favorable effects on blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammatory factors. Studies on large populations have linked high nut consumption with lower heart disease rates. Nuts also contain little or no carbohydrate so they do not cause spikes in blood sugar and may even blunt blood sugar spikes caused by carbohydrates eaten along with the nuts. Peanuts, almonds, and pistacios have the highest protein content, while brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts have intermediate protein content, and pecans and macadamias have the lowest protein content. Walnuts have the additional benefit of being high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are widely considered the most healthful kind.

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