Go Nuts for a Happy Heart

When it comes to nuts, bow in respect of King Walnut. Abounding in healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, walnuts are cardio-protective, promote better cognitive function, and have anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis.  

Walnuts also contain the antioxidant compound ellagic acid, a known cancer fighter and support for the immune system. But that’s not all – in a 2003 study in Phytochemistry, researchers identified 16 polyphenols in walnuts, including three new tannins, with antioxidant activity so powerful they described it as “remarkable.”

Walnuts are incredibly healthy for the heart. A 2004 study in Circulation found that when walnuts were substituted for about one-third of the calories supplied by olives and other monounsaturated fats in the Mediterranean diet:

•Total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol were reduced

•The elasticity of the arteries increased by 64%

•Levels of vascular cell adhesion molecules, which play a major role in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), were reduced

And, perhaps next in line for kingdom, are almonds. Just a quarter cup of almonds contains nearly 25% of your needed daily value of the important nutrient magnesium, plus is rich in potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. In fact, a quarter cup of almonds has almost as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk (for all you lactose intolerant souls).

They’re also great for the colon. An animal study on the effects of almonds on colon cancer found that animals (which were exposed to a colon-cancer-causing agent) given whole almonds had fewer signs of colon cancer than animals given almond oil or no almonds. Researchers suspect the benefit may be due to almonds’ high fiber content.

Plus, almonds are one of the best nuts for lowering cholesterol because 70% of the fat they contain is the healthy monounsaturated variety, which has been shown to help clear arteries.

Let’s go nuts!

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