Please welcome Adrienne, a writer for Mercola, to the blog today! She is sharing about the health benefits of nuts, and we are thrilled to have her on.
Part of staying healthy is maintaining an ideal weight. Low-fat or non-fat foods may seem like the solution to avoid unwanted pounds, but they can do more harm than good. These foods are often processed and contain excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates, sugar, and grains, which contribute to weight gain.
What Will Really Make You Fat?
Contrary to what mainstream media and conventional medicine promote, eating fat will not make you gain weight.
For your cells to function, they burn sugar or fat for fuel. Before burning fat, your body metabolizes sugar first. Whatever cannot be burned is stored as fat. If you consume too much sugar, your body becomes accustomed to burning sugar as fuel and will crave it excessively.
If you eat more fat than sugar, your body will easily burn sugar and continue to use fat as fuel. When you eat fat, you become satiated, will crave less food, and stay lean.
It is important to remember to limit your fat consumption to healthy fats. Trans fats, found in processed foods, may accumulate in your cell membranes and impair key metabolic processes. Avoid them entirely.
Obtain Healthy Fats from This Healthy Snack
Nuts are good sources of healthy fats, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and plant sterols. Nuts are associated with optimal heart health, normal blood pressure, effective weight management, and can lower your risk of chronic diseases.
When choosing nuts, pay attention to the quality. Avoid irradiated or pasteurized nuts and opt for the raw, organic varieties.
Peanuts should be typically avoided, as they are a part of the legume family, have way too much omega-6, and are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a carcinogenic mold.
Below are some of the most healthful nuts you can eat:
- Walnuts – They are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and phytosterols.
- Pecans – Pecans can help regulate your cholesterol levels. Additionally, they have over 19 vitamins and minerals.
- Almonds – The skins of almonds are abundant with antioxidants, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and phenols.
It is also important to note that all three nuts, along with cashews and hazelnuts, contain the amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid, which means that your body cannot produce it sufficiently and must be obtained from foods.
Important Reminders Regarding Nuts
While almonds are readily available in most supermarkets, raw varieties are actually hard to find. In 2007, the US Department of Agriculture imposed the mandatory pasteurization of almonds, which can alter their nutritional value.
Nuts made in North America have probably undergone the following pasteurization methods:
- Dry roasting, oil roasting, or blanching
- Steam processing
- Propylene oxide treatment – This highly flammable chemical compound was once used as a racing fuel.
While there are products with “raw” labeled on them, there are no “truly raw” almonds in the US. To find raw almonds in America, you can approach vendors who sell small quantities. They often have a waiver from the pasteurization rule.
While nuts are a great source of healthy fats, they still need to be consumed in moderation. Almost all nuts are rich in omega-6 fats. Eating too many may disrupt your body’s omega-6/omega-3 fat ratio. According to health expert Dr. Paul Jaminet, it is crucial to have low levels of omega-6 because high levels can affect the quality of polyunsaturated fats, which are found in certain nuts like pistachios and cashews.
About the Author
Adrienne is a writer researching natural health strategies using online sources like the Mercola natural health website. She is currently working on several articles on whey protein benefits, as well as foods containing L-arginine.