Nobody can resist a handful of nuts. They’re the perfect snack for parties, events, and in-between meals. There are so many types of nuts and so many ways to serve them, it is impossible to get tired of them. Even better than their great taste and ability to blend into any event, nuts are packed full of nutrition.
Nuts had a bad reputation for a long time because of their high-fat content. While they do contain fat, the fats are generally healthy in moderation.
The fats nuts do contain are beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts also provide a host of nutritional benefits. They can be cooked, chopped, and added to dishes, or eaten alone as a snack. No matter how you eat them, there are a handful of health benefits for every handful you eat.
Nuts contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s these properties that allow nuts to protect health and prevent serious diseases.
Free radicals are naturally produced through metabolic processes, but they can damage tissues, leading to disease. Oxidative stress causes inflammation and is linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The polyphenols in nuts reduce oxidative stress and protect your cells and tissues from damage. As a result, the risk of disease is significantly lowered.
Better Heart Health
Today more than ever, preventing heart disease is an important aspect of men’s health. Nuts are a great and tasty way to protect your heart. Nuts may contain fat, but the high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats allows them to lower cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels can block arteries and increase blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Snacking on nuts can significantly reduce this risk, so long as they are eaten in moderation.
Many nuts also contain a high amount of magnesium, which is an important mineral to heart health. Magnesium helps to maintain a regular heartbeat and regulates blood pressure to protect the heart from stress and disease.
Nuts are the perfect snacking food for individuals with metabolic syndrome or diabetes. Type 2 diabetes significantly increases your risk of heart disease. Nuts are low in carbohydrates and do not cause blood sugar to increase. The antioxidant properties of nuts also lower oxidative stress, which can cause more severe conditions associated with diabetes.
Nuts are a common food in Mediterranean diets, and individuals following this type of eating are less likely to develop diabetes. The Mediterranean diet is also associated with reduced inflammation, and nuts are responsible for lowering inflammatory markers in the blood.
High in Fiber
Nuts are all high in fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system.
They serve as an optimal food source for the bacteria living in your gut. As the bacteria digest this fiber, they produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids that improve overall gut health, reduce your risk of diabetes, and support weight loss. The high fiber content also produces a feeling of fullness, so you have fewer chances of overeating.
As part of a weight loss program, nuts are great snacks to curb hunger and prevent overeating. With regards to weight loss, nuts are high in calories, so they are often avoided. Studies show that the body does not absorb all these calories, so nuts can be successfully included in weight-loss problems.
2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecan or walnut halves
1 ½ cup pepitas
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, so the maple syrup doesn’t get stuck to the pan. Pour the almonds, pecans, and pepitas into the pan and set it aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, melted butter, salt, vanilla, and cayenne. Gently whisk until blended. Pour the mixture over the nuts on the prepared baking sheet. Stir well, until all of the nuts are lightly coated. Spread the mixture in a single layer across the pan.
4. Bake the nuts, stirring after the first 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter, until almost no maple syrup remains on the parchment paper. The nuts should be deeply golden, which will take between 23 to 26 minutes. The maple syrup coating will be a little sticky right out of the oven but will harden as the pecans cool.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the nuts one more time, spreading them into an even layer across the pan. Let them cool down for about 10 minutes, then, while the nuts are still warm, carefully separate any large clumps if any have formed.
6. Let the nut mixture cool completely on the pan. These will keep for up to 2 months in a sealed bag at room temperature.
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and cashews are just some of the nuts you can enjoy. Each type may have its own taste, but they all have the same amazing health benefits. As part of a balanced diet, the high-fat nuts can help you lose weight, boost heart health, and deliver natural and sustained energy levels.
If your goal is to get healthy, then it is time to go nuts. A handful of nuts are the perfect snack at any time of day.