Eleven reasons why we should chase nuts

Nuts are actually rich reserves of nutrition packed into tiny package. Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Researchers at Loma Linda University in California reported that those eating nuts daily had up to 60% fewer heart attacks than those who ate nuts less than once per month.

The beneficial effect of nut eating was found for men, women, vegetarians, meat-eaters, fatter people, thinner people, the old, the young, those who did much exercise and those who did little exercise.

The type of nut you eat isn't that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others. Nuts like pecan, hazelnut, walnut, peanut, pistachios and macadamia are great snack foods also.

If you have heart disease, eating nuts instead of a less healthy snack can help you more easily follow a heart-healthy diet. Listed below are eleven benefits of eating nuts:

1. Eating nuts reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also improve the health of the lining of your arteries

2. Consuming nuts reduces the risk of having a stroke, type-2 diabetes, dementia, age-related blindness and gallstones

3. Daily nut eaters gain an extra five to six years of life free of coronary disease. Regular nut eating appears to increase longevity by about 2 years, calculations reveal

4. Nuts are of course a fatty food, but they do not cause weight gain. Instead, daily supplements of almonds or peanuts for six months resulted in little or no increase in body weight, a study found. Nuts appear to satisfy hunger sufficiently well to reduce the consumption of other food

5. Nuts contain low levels of saturated fats and high levels of unsaturated fats. Studies have clearly shown that nut consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels

6. Nuts are good sources of vitamin E. It's thought that vitamin E may help stop the development of plaques in your arteries which can narrow them, leading to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack

7. Many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks.

8. Nuts also have lots of l-arginine, a substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow

9. All nuts contain fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Fiber also makes you feel full, so you'll eat less and it is also known to prevent diabetes

10. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can help lower your cholesterol

11. And finally, nuts are the best dietary source of manganese, boron, folic acid, copper and magnesium

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