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Pcos |  Debjani M Arora
Going Nuts the Healthy Way
September 24, 2021

Excerpt: Nuts are these tiny health-reservoirs packed with a host of vital nutrients and energy. If you are planning to eat healthy, you need to include them in your diet - munch on them, use them as salad dressings, add them to your gravies, but don’t ignore them.  


Here we take a look at some of the healthiest nuts and the benefits they bestow on us. Read on.  

Who doesn't like munching on nuts? The taste and satiety-quotient apart, they are the best snack option one can rely on to kill hunger pangs in-between meals. 


Nuts are nutrient-dense, rich in healthy fats (unsaturated fatty acids), good for your heart health, controls blood sugar levels and aids in weight management. They are a powerhouse of antioxidants - which saves you from cell damage and improves your overall health. 


Just munching on a handful can help you stay full for longer and save you from falling prey to junk food or binge eating - the two culprits that can make a dent in your healthy eating efforts. With nuts, you can never go wrong. 


You can either have them as a snack or include them in your diet in various ways - in curries, fruit salads, low-cal desserts, the options are plenty. Here we take a look at the five of the healthiest nuts and how they help us to stay healthy. 


Almonds: Apart from being a great source of antioxidants, they are high in healthy fats, protein, fibre and low in carbohydrates. But the real reason almonds are considered a nutty-superfood is because they are high in Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that protects you from cell damage. In fact, almonds are considered to be the best source of Vitamin E. A reason why it is said that including a handful of almonds in your diet can help lower your risk of heart diseases, Alzheimer's and certain types of cancers


Eating almonds regularly can help in - 


Lowering cholesterol levels: They boost the levels of HDL or good cholesterol and lowers the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Thus, reducing the damage caused to the arteries due to plaque build-up. 


Protecting from breast cancer: Studies suggest that consumption of almonds along with other nuts like peanuts and walnuts can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. 


Lowering blood pressure: Rich in flavonoids, fibre and healthy fats, they help lower blood pressure by improving blood circulation and increasing the levels of antioxidants in the bloodstream. 


Improving brain functions: A reason why Indian moms insist their kids have a handful of them before exams. Vitamin E has been linked to better brain functions by scientists and is also known to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease as one ages. 


Maintaining blood sugar levels: Almonds are a good source of magnesium too, a deficiency often found in people with type II diabetes. Including almonds can help rectify this deficiency and maintain blood sugar levels.  


Weight management: If you are trying to lose weight, don't forget to include almonds in your diet. They are low in carbohydrates but high in protein and healthy fats. Consumption of almonds keeps you satiated for long and prevents binge eating that can make you pile up calories unnecessarily.  


Improving bone health: They make your bones stronger as they are also a good source of calcium. 


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Try this tasty, enjoyable almond recipe:

Walnuts: If almonds are a nutty superfood, walnuts could be a close second. They are also a great source of healthy fats, fibre, various vitamins and minerals. But the real deal is this - Walnuts are a great source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart disease, help in weight management, lower cholesterol levels and improve overall health. 


Eating just a few walnuts daily can help in - 


Keeping the heart healthy: Apart from lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels, they prevent the formation of plague in the arteries. They also help lower the chances of having a blood clot that could lead to a heart attack. The polyphenols present in walnuts help to reduce inflammation of the arteries and keep the heart ticking and fit. 


Improving gut health: A healthy gut improves your overall health quotient. Eating walnuts regularly can help improve the good bacteria count in your gut and maintain better gut health. 


Delaying age-related impairments: Ageing is inevitable. But ageing gracefully and healthily has a lot to do with the diet choices you make, and one such good choice could be adding walnuts to your diet. Studies have found that walnuts lower the risk of physical impairment in the old and ailing by 13%, especially in women. 


Improving brain functions: Walnuts look like a tiny brain and so share a stronger bond with the organ. It helps to improve memory, mental flexibility and delays the onset of Alzheimer's disease.  


Managing blood sugar levels: If you are living with diabetes, know that walnuts can be your saviour. They help manage weight by limiting temptations and tricking the brain to eat healthy. Thereby helping control blood sugar levels. Excess weight gain makes your blood sugar levels go haywire. 


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Try this healthy recipe with walnut and almond powder:


Quick tip: Use this powder in shakes, salads or mix in batter or chapati dough


Peanuts: We don't talk about peanuts how we might talk about the other nuts, wonder why? Peanuts got a bad rep of being an unhealthy nut (from where and how we don't know) as they are high in fats. If you have also believed in this myth - time to change your perspective about peanuts. While they are high in fats, they are high in healthy fats (MUFA) that can do your heart and health a lot of good. 


Including a handful of peanuts in your diet can help in- 

Boosting heart health: They reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improve blood circulation. They have artery-cleansing properties which reduces the chances of suffering from a stroke or heart attack. In fact, eating peanuts has also been associated with increased blood flow in the brain that can prevent stroke incidence. 


Protecting the gut from gallstones: Studies suggest that eating peanuts can lower the risk of gallstone formation by 25%, especially in people prone to it - women, overweight individuals, people over age 40, and those with a diet high in calories and refined carbohydrates. 


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Try this healthy recipe with peanuts: Peanut Sundal



Pistachios: They are a good source of protein, fibre and antioxidants. These little nuts are, in fact, higher in their protein content than any other nuts and lower in calories. They aid in weight management, keep blood sugar in check and prevent cell damage. They are a rich source of vital vitamins, namely, Vitamin B1 and B6. 

Including them in your diet can help in - 

Boosting blood circulation: Vitamin B6, keeps the blood vessels healthy and improves blood flow throughout the body. This also helps to increase oxygen flow to the cells. They keep cholesterol in check by lowering the LDL cholesterol by 12%, suggests studies. 


Controlling blood sugar levels: Pistachios are high in carbs, but they have a low glycemic index; this is one of the reasons they are considered to be suitable for people with diabetes. 


Keeping your eyes healthy: They also help to protect your eyes by preventing the onset of many age-related eye problems like - macular degeneration, among others.  


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Try this recipe with pistachios: Pista Barfi 



Pine nuts: They are rich in manganese, iron, zinc protein, and Vitamin E. Being a rich source of antioxidants, they do a lot of good to your skin and heart health. Because of the manganese-iron-protein combo-packed in these tiny nuts, they are also known to be energy boosters and provide a kick to your stamina levels a few minutes after consumption. 


Eating them regularly can help in - 


Regulating the heart functions: Pine nuts can help prevent arrhythmia, a condition where your heart beats too fast or too slow (a life-threatening condition). They also help to reduce blood clotting and control cholesterol levels. 


Improving glucose absorption: It is believed that pine nuts can help improve insulin's ability to uptake glucose. 


Improving brain functions: They reduce cell damage and inflammation in the brain and prevent the organ from premature ageing. 


We have listed enough reasons for you to munch on these tiny health-reservoirs. Add them to your diet to reap the benefits and live a healthy, fitter life. But remember, don't go overboard with nuts, heard the phrase - too much of a good thing. Well, with nuts, you can ruin all its goodness if you eat them in excess. Moderation is the key. 


Happy munching. 

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