SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
Want to add years to your life? Go nuts! The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study that showed people who ate a handful of mixed nuts on a daily basis were 20% less likely to die from heart diseases, cancer or other ailments.
Certified nutritionist and dietician Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., concurs that nuts are crucial for a healthy diet, especially for people over 50. “Nuts are the whole health package with proven disease-prevention benefits," says Dr. Brill.
Adds Andrea Paul, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at BoardVitals.com, “A nut-rich diet can boost longevity in many ways. They lead to weight loss, better sleep, improved, memory, a stronger immune system, and healthier, younger-looking skin. All of these contribute to a longer life, as do their benefits of reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.”
The New England Journal of Medicine study showed that as little as a handful—or approximately one ounce—of nuts per day could be the difference between living to 80 and living to 90. It doesn’t matter what type you eat, but consider mixing them together or alternating to avoid boredom. “Eating about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of nuts per day is a good amount to reap the benefits,” says Dr. Paul. “But in general, it is best to eat nuts raw since high temperatures can destroy some of their nutritional components.” If you aren’t a fan of raw nuts, try dry-roasted, unsalted. Scroll through below to see which nuts are best for you:
Now that you know all about nuts’ nutritional benefits, you’re ready to indulge, right? Great—but go easy: Nuts are nutrient-dense, but they’re also calorie-dense. Instead of just adding them to your diet, use nuts as a swap. Use them to replace empty calories in your diet (such as candy bars, sweets, breads, crackers, and chips). “Nuts have been shown to help with weight control as their high fiber and protein content will help fill you up—not out!” says Brill. “Cut back on saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, then add in the healthy fats from the nuts.”
Nuts are always a great choice for a grab-and-go healthy snack. But if you’re looking for some more creative ideas, consider the following:
- Go Greek. “Enjoy a fat-free Greek yogurt topped with a little honey and some crushed nuts and savor a nutritious, satisfyingly sweet snack,” recommends Brill.
- Kick up your salads. No matter what type of salad you’re serving up, nuts always make a crunchy, delicious and unexpected garnish.
- Dessert nut. While it’s not necessarily the healthiest way to incorporate nuts into your diet, candied nuts are still healthy alternative to other sweets. Try them baked with a little brown sugar, or rolled in cocoa powder.
- Crunchy crusts. Forget the bread crumbs! Try crushed up almonds or walnuts instead. They’ll give you the same satisfying crunchy crust while adding a nutritional punch.
- Sideline ‘em. You can never go wrong by adding nuts. Toss them in your stir fry, vegetable side dishes, brown rice pilaf; no matter the dish, an addition of nuts will add flavor—and nutrition—to your favorite dishes.