The Benefits Of Going Nuts Over Nuts

Sunday, 2 Feb 2014, 9:05:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

The news on nuts is in, and it’s all good. Eaten in moderation (a handful a day), these crunchy, tasty morsels aren’t just mouthwatering, they promote health and longevity like no other food.

In a large 30-year study done at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, and Harvard, researchers found that people who ate just one ounce of nuts a day, seven times a week were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, or any other cause than people who didn’t eat them.

In addition, it was found that people who ate nuts tended to be slimmer than those who didn’t. Again, moderation is the key.

Previous studies have found that the nutrients in nuts are linked to all sorts of biological benefits such as reduced inflammation, less fat around internal organs, better blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and even fewer gallstones. So it’s good to go nuts over nuts—as long as you don’t overdo it.

Different nuts appeal for different reason and their health profiles vary from nut to nut. Here are a few highlights:

Almonds

Rich in beneficial vitamin E, one ounce provides a third of your body’s daily requirement. It also contains magnesium, which lowers blood pressure and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL, the so-call “bad” cholesterol. Diets rich in almonds also support reduced inflammation throughout the body as well as reduced levels of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood sugar.

Pistachios

Known as the “smiling nut” or “happy nut” because their shells open into a smile when they’re ripe, the pistachios are a bit lower in calories than almonds while also having three grams of fiber, six grams of protein, and almost as much potassium as a banana. Most of their fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated, which has been linked to lowering LDL.

Macadamia nuts

At first glance, this nut doesn’t appear as healthy as the other nuts and is higher in calories. However, there’s some very promising research being done that has revealed that macadamias are a rich source of omega-7 fatty acids, a type of fat that may reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in a way that’s similar to prescription beta blockers. This could be very big news and make macadamia nuts very popular.

Pecans & Walnuts

Both of these nuts are brain food, filled with beneficial fatty acids and high, boast-worthy protein content. Nutritionally they’re very balanced with a high level of iron, making them helpful for women. Pecans are loaded with phytosterols, plant compounds that decrease LDL’s or “bad” cholesterol. They also provide 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber, which also benefits cholesterol and aids in digestion.

Nutty tip:

Grab a handful of nuts before meals and parties. It’s a healthy way curb your appetite so you don’t fill up on bad fat, sugary, high calorie foods that you may regret later.

There are so many ways to incorporate nuts into your festive meal this season – and any time! Here’s a recipe for a dessert from a friend that I just fell in love with.

Pecan Pudding

Serves 4

-- 2 cups soy milk

-- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

-- 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple or brown rice syrup, or to taste

-- 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder, kudzu powder, or sweet rice flour

-- 2 tablespoons carob powder

Step-by-Step:

1. Put the soy milk, pecans, maple syrup, arrowroot powder, and carob powder into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan. Taste the mixture and add a little more syrup if you want it sweeter.

2. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the pudding thickens and just begins to simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and serve warm.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can

email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com.

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