If you’re trying to follow a heart-healthy diet, some of the best things you can add to it are nuts. Almost all nuts are packed with heart-friendly nutrients, like vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and unsaturated fats. They may help lower your cholesterol, get rid of inflammation, improve blood vessel health and lower your risk of heart disease.
Best of all, there are so many great ways to eat them. You can use them as snacks, add them to salads, eat them in nut butter form, mix them into yogurt or add them to your diet any way you see fit. But the most important thing is that you eat them. Here’s why.
Almonds are probably the nuts that are easiest to find in your grocery store. Plus, you can do so much with them. They’re also a great weight loss tool because they’re filling and lower in calories than other types of nuts. Studies have shown that they can help reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol and reduce swelling in your body.
Pecans are another great nut that are easy to find your local grocery store and that have heart-healthy benefits. They contain healthy fats that may lower bad cholesterol and raise the good kind. They may also help reduce your risk of colon and breast cancers. The antioxidants in pecans have even been known to help slow the aging process and reduce inflammation in the body.
Macadamia nuts are filled with heart-healthy fats. Like pecans, they can have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels. Studies have shown they can also reduce inflammation and reduce oxidative stress, which is the amount of harmful chemicals in your blood. This stress can have a negative impact on your heart health. If you’re eating a low-carb diet, macadamia nuts only have about 4 grams of carbs per serving.
Some people consider walnuts the ultimate nut for heart health. That may have something to do with the quality of the antioxidants they contain. An ounce of walnuts may even have more antioxidants than your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Like other nuts, they can help lower cholesterol and the amount of inflammation in your body. They may even help lower your blood pressure.
Like almonds, pistachios are lower in calories than many other types of nuts. This makes them a healthy snack for anyone trying to lose weight. Studies have shown that eating about two to three ounces of them a day can help raise good cholesterol levels. These little green nuts may also lower your blood pressure.
Technically, peanuts aren’t really nuts at all. They’re legumes like beans and peas. But you’ll find them in the nut aisle at your local grocery store. They’re a great heart-healthy snack. Not only do they reduce the risk for heart disease, but studies have shown that they may help prevent Type 2 diabetes for women.
Last but not least, cashews are great nuts to add to your heart-healthy diet. Like the others, they can help lower your cholesterol levels. They’re also a good source of copper, which can help reduce your risk of developing some diseases. Cashews are filled with antioxidants, and they may help lower your blood pressure.
Learn more about which foods make up a heart-healthy diet. Take control of your health by learning more about the nutrition services offered by Bon Secours.