10 ways the humble nut could improve your health


#1 Reduce your risk of a heart attack with a handful of nuts every day. In their New York Times bestseller, SuperFoods, authors Steven Pratt MD and Kathy Matthews say that a handful of nuts eaten five or more times a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by at least 15 per cent and possibly as much as 51 per cent. They go on to say that a similar nut intake can also significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many cancers.

#2 Get your glow on with walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids (making them an ideal alternative to oily fish), vitamin E and zinc – all of which are thought to do wonders for the condition and appearance of the skin. Don’t like walnuts? Almonds are rich in both Vitamin E and biotin – a nutrient needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. Just one quarter-cup of almonds will provide 75 per cent of your body’s daily requirement, say Pratt and Matthews.

#3 Build bone strength with almonds. Almonds have the most calcium of all nuts, says Nicky Hambleton-Jones in her 10 Years Younger Nutrition Bible, which is good news for bone strength – and for those who can’t tolerate dairy produce. Brazil nuts are another calcium-rich variety.

#4 Get hormone-happy with pistachios. Fibre-rich foods are thought to help balance hormones, and pistachios are loaded with the stuff. “You get more dietary fibre from a serving of pistachios than from a half-cup of broccoli or spinach,” report Pratt and Matthews. Pistachios also happen to be a good source of vitamin B6 which, again, is associated with keeping hormones healthy.

#5 Fight fatigue with pecans, a source of vitamin B3 which helps our bodies to access the energy in food we eat, says BBC Good Food.

#6 Protect yourself against pollution, cigarette smoke and UV rays with Brazil nuts. According to Hambleton-Jones, Brazil nuts contain the highest natural source of selenium which is known to destroy free radicals caused by pollution and protect the skin from damaging UV light. Selenium also supports the immune system and helps wounds to heal, and you only need three to four Brazil nuts a day to get all the selenium you require.

#7 Stay sharp with cashew nuts which are rich in magnesium, thought to improve recall and delay age-related memory loss, says BBC Good Food. Conversely, low magnesium levels are believed to be a risk factor for migraine headaches.

#8 Up your energy levels with almonds – estimated to have a third more protein than eggs. Other particularly protein-potent varieties include Brazil nuts, pecans and pistachios.

#9 Boost your brainpower. “Nuts are an important souce of boron which studies suggest is vital for the transmission of electrical impulses in the brain,” says Hambleton-Jones. Topping the list of boron-rich nuts are almonds, along with hazel nuts, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

#10 Improve erections with pistachios. Apparently so! Pistachios are rich in arginine which is thought to enhance blood flow by relaxing the blood-vessel walls, and have been linked with improvements in erectile disfunction, sexual desire, orgasmic function and overall satisfaction. Fitting, then, that pistachios are nicknamed ‘the happy nut’… 😉

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© Lesley Dougall Copywriting Limited and 10thingsby.com, 2013. Unauthorised reproduction of content is not permitted. To request permission, email copywriter@lesleydougall.com or tweet @lesleydougall

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