with Funke Oshifuye

Since then many clinical trials have found that consumption of various nuts such as almonds and walnuts can lower serum LDL cholesterol concentrations. Although nuts contain various substances thought to possess cardio-protective effects, scientists believe that their omega 3 fatty acid profile is at least in part responsible for the hypolipidemic response observed in clinical trials because nuts contain the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids, and the fats in nuts for the most part are unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats.

In addition to possessing cardioprotective effects, nuts generally have a very low glycemic index. Consequently, dietitians frequently recommend nuts be included in diets prescribed for patients with insulin resistance problems such as diabetes mellitus type 2.

Many nuts are good sources of vitamins E and B2 (riboflavin, an antioxidant), and are rich in protein, folate, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium.

Nuts are most healthy in their raw form. The reason is that up to 15 percent of the healthy oils that naturally occur in nuts are lost during the roasting process. Roasting at high temperatures could also cause chemicals that advance the aging process to form.

Nuts can prevent excessive weight gain in spite of being rich in fats. The secret lies in the fact that besides being rich in fats, they also contain a large amount of protein and fibre. Both protein and fibre require more time to get digested than fat and carbohydrate and so, eating a few nuts can reduce hunger.

Although nuts are high in calories, so are often shunned by dieters, the good news is that one does not need to consume many to receive nutritional benefits. Simply eating a handful of nuts a day will provides a whole range of goodness, without piling on the pounds/kilograms.

Other health benefits of eating nuts and seeds include reduction in fatigue, decrease in feelings of irritability, reduction in insomnia problem and Improvement in asthma. They are used to treat menopausal symptoms and also good for healthy skin and hair.

However, over consumption is not recommended and it is also important to eat them in a healthy way without adding much salt.

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