Did you know that two of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are to:
- Lose Weight, and
- Eat Healthier Foods
If either of these goals are your resolutions, research shows that eating nuts could actually help you!
Let’s find out why!
How Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight
When you set your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, you might have thought of a long list of foods you need to cut out of your diet in order to achieve your weight loss goal. Sugar, chocolate, alcohol and nuts may have been on your list.
As nuts are an energy dense food with a high fat content, many people assume that eating nuts causes weight gain. However, research actually show that this is not true!
Nuts are actually associated with a decreased risk of being overweight or obese, and regularly eating nuts reduces body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference! Those who eat nuts are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t eat nuts, and are more likely to be a healthy weight.
Research has shown that nuts can help you lose weight because:
- Nuts contain an abundance of healthy fats, fibre and protein. This combination of nutrients helps nuts satisfy hunger and reduce your appetite.
- The fat is stored in the nut’s cell walls, which don’t break down easily during digestion – meaning we don’t absorb all of the fat. It is estimated that we absorb 30% less than we previously thought as some of the fat passes out in our faeces. fact it is estimated that up to around 20% of the calories from nuts are not absorbed.
- A handful of nuts releases the satiety hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and peptide YY (PYY) in the digestive system which help tell you when you’re full.
- Eating nuts can significantly reduce the number of calories consumed at later meals, meaning you eat less.
- Regularly eating nuts can boost your resting metabolic rate by 5-10%, meaning that your body is burning more calories.
Adding Nuts To Your Diet
If you set yourself a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier, then including a healthy 30g serving of nuts each day is a great start. Recent scientific evidence concludes that diets rich in plant-based foods like vegetables, nuts, legumes and fruit; with fewer animal source foods, will help improve your own health and have environmental benefits. Health authorities around the world recommend eating more plant foods like nuts. Nuts are like nature’s own vitamin supplement – a small package containing a combination of at least 28 different essential nutrients!
Regularly eating nuts has been shown to contribute to heart health, reduce overall mortality and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, assist with weight management, reduce the risk of cancer, improve sperm quality and gut health, reduce depression and promote overall good health.
Which Nuts Should You Eat?
With all these amazing health benefits of nuts, you might be wondering which nuts to include in your eating plan this year. The answer is whichever ones you enjoy, because they all carry health benefits and can help with weight loss! Let’s have a look at how each nut can can contribute to your health in 2020:
- Almonds – Are rich in Vitamin E, with just a handful (30g, or about 20 nuts) providing over 80% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI). Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and an antioxidant which can help maintain a healthy heart.
- Brazil nuts – An excellent source of selenium, a vital mineral and antioxidant for a healthy immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease. Just two Brazil nuts can provide your entire daily intake of selenium.
- Cashews – Contain the highest amount of iron and zinc of all the tree nuts for a healthy immune system. They also have a low GI, which helps to manage blood glucose levels.
- Chestnuts – Low in total and saturated fat, and are the only nuts that contain vitamin C – an antioxidant vitamin important for wound healing.
- Hazelnuts – The highest in fibre of all the nuts – with a serve providing over 10% of the RDI. Fibre is important for a healthy digestive system.
- Macadamias – Australia’s native nut, macadamias are a very rich source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats can help to reduce cholesterol levels, which can help keep your heart healthy.
- Pecans – Are a rich source of antioxidants – which help protect the body from free radical damage.
- Pine nuts – An excellent source of manganese for bone formation and a source of niacin for energy production.
- Pistachios – Contain the highest amount of vitamin B6 of all the nuts – important for energy production, and are one of the few nut sources of resveratrol, an antioxidant more commonly found in red wine which appears to have anti-ageing and cardioprotective properties.
- Walnuts – One of the few plant sources of Omega-3 fats for healthy blood vessels, healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy heart.
So if you’ve set out to lose weight or eat healthier this 2020, don’t forget to include a healthy handful of nuts each day!
Editor’s Note:This article was written as part of my work with Nuts For Life. To learn more about nuts, click here.