Eat nuts and seeds to lose weight? You bet! Even though the myth that nuts and seeds are fattening has persisted, research suggests that they can actually help with weight loss. This is because nuts and seeds are healthful, natural foods that are loaded with health promoting nutrients. And you should know that it’s not the fat content of a diet that makes it healthy, it’s the nutrients it contains. Because they are nutrient dense, nuts and seeds are a healthy source of calories. Still need convincing? Let’s take a look at some of their many benefits.
If you are trying to lose weight, don’t avoid nuts! Research has shown that adding nuts to the diet aids in weight loss and also improves insulin sensitivity. This could help to prevent or reverse diabetes! But, please don’t go nuts when eating nuts! It’s true that nuts and seeds are high in nutrients, but they are also high in calories. So, when trying to lose weight, 1 ounce daily is a good amount for women and 1.5 – 2 ounces for overweight men. Nuts and seeds can be eaten in larger amounts for slim, highly physically active people who could use the extra calories.
Nuts and seeds contain LDL cholesterol-lowering phytosterols; circulation-promoting arginine; minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids. And studies have consistently shown that nut consumption is beneficial for heart health. Did you know that eating five or more servings of nuts per week can help reduce the risk of coronary disease?
Each nut and seed provides unique nutritional health benefits, so you want to eat a variety. Here are some great options:
Almonds – These are rich in antioxidants. In one study, almonds were shown to reduce oxidative stress markers. This makes them an immunity protecting superstar!
Walnuts – Studies show an enhanced ability of the blood vessels to dilate which indicates better blood pressure regulation and that walnuts may protect against breast cancer.
Pistachios and Mediterranean pine nuts – Both have the highest plant sterol content of all the nuts; plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol which help to lower cholesterol levels. Pistachios reduce inflammation and oxidative stress as well as cholesterol. There’s more good news about Mediterranean pine nuts! They contain a specific type of fatty acid that has been shown to curb appetite by increasing hormones that produce satiety signals. I know I love that!
Flax, hemp, and chia seeds – Both are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and hemp seeds are especially high in protein, making them a great food for athletes.
Pumpkin seeds – Rich in iron, calcium, and phytochemicals, and may help to prevent prostate cancer.
Sesame seeds – Have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world! Provides abundant amounts of vitamin E and contains a lignan called sesamin and lignan-rich foods may protect against breast cancer.
Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw or only lightly toasted. Roasting nuts and seeds forms a potentially harmful compound called acrylamide, and reduces the amounts of minerals and amino acids. Here’s a tip: eat your nuts and seeds with leafy greens. Doing this can enhance the body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from the greens. I love to put a light sprinkle of walnuts on my salad. You can also make tasty dressings! Salad dressings made using nuts and seeds instead of oils are much healthier for you. CLICK HERE to find out why. Some of my favorites can be found in the book, My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn. Happy eating!