The "Nut" In Nutritious

In the first of ten posts covering ALL the areas crucial to longevity, David Murdock discusses the role of nuts in building overall good health, ranging from brain fitness to weight control.
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In my first blog post, I wrote about the benefits of thirty-three of the healthiest fruit and vegetables on earth, describing the nutrition benefits of each. The post garnered over 100,000 readers, and generated nearly 400 reader comments, many of which asked for more information. People asked: "What about nuts? What about beans? What about fish? Aren't they healthy, too?" My answer is: "Yes, of course!"

Therefore, my next ten posts will be devoted to covering ALL the areas crucial to longevity. These include other foods that should be included in a longevity diet - such as nuts, fish, beans, grains and fresh juices. I'll talk about the necessary importance of brain fitness as you age, and how you can keep the brain fit along with the body. Other planned topics: Weight loss, the dangers of supplements, and proper elimination.

I will share my advice, spoken from personal experience of what I do to remain fit, energetic and focused at 86 years of age. Though I'm not a scientist, everything my Dole Nutrition Institute publishes is based on scientific research. So this second post will provide information readers requested on nuts - and why you should include them in your diet.

ALMONDS: My favorite - especially when covered in dark chocolate! Top nut source of vitamin E, to protect the heart, slow aging, and bolster immunity.

WALNUTS: Top nut in heart-healthy, brain-boosting omega-3 oils. The omega-3 oils in walnuts could help calm and moisten dry, irritated skin. Walnuts also contain a unique form of vitamin E thought to suppress prostate and lung cancer cell division.

PECANS: Top nut in antioxidants. This means they can help neutralize the free radicals that can accelerate aging and cause DNA damage. Pecans may also lower cholesterol.

PEANUTS: Though not strictly a nut (they are in fact a legume), peanuts contain more protein than tree nuts. They also contain the potent antioxidant resveratrol -- famously found in red wine.

PISTACHIOS: Top nut in potassium, needed to maintain healthy blood pressure. Also top nut in phytosterols (plant compounds that inhibit cholesterol absorption).

CASHEWS: Top nut in zinc, a mineral needed to support vision and immunity.

PINE NUTS: Top nut in manganese, essential for bone health and wound healing.

BRAZIL NUTS: Top nut in selenium, a mineral needed for proper thyroid and immune health. Selenium may also protect against cancers of the prostate, liver and lungs. Don't eat more than four a day.

MACADAMIA NUTS: Often shunned because they have more saturated fat than other nuts. However, researchers have found that a handful of macadamia nuts a day reduced total cholesterol by about 9%.

These are the kinds of things we are studying at our North Carolina Research Campus. It is the only campus in the world encompassing eight universities all working together for the benefit of health and longevity. These include Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State University, UNC Charlotte, North Carolina Central University, NC A&T State University, UNC Greensboro and Appalachian State University. Our Dole Nutrition Institute publishes articles, brochures, videos and our Dole Nutrition News, which you can receive by signing up at

Stay tuned for my next post on Brain Fitness: What mental exercises and daily activities help keep your mind sharp and focuses, at any age.

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