Nuts for Nuts!

Aw, Nuts!

Eating nuts have already been linked to reducing the risk of chronic disease, but now it’s clear consumption reduces inflammation.

In Boston, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital have done several studies on the positive health effects of eating nuts. They, along with other scientists, have noted how the risk of developing chronic disease decreases when we consume nuts. For this study, the researchers wanted to figure out why this is true.

The lead epidemiologist at the hospital stated, “Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.”

The recent study revealed that eating at least five servings of nuts per week is incredibly helpful. Even adding nuts to meals three times a week showed to reduce biomarkers for inflammation.

The study states: “Researchers found participants who ate five or more servings of nuts per week or substituted red meat, processed meat, eggs or grains with nuts in three meals per week had reduced markers of inflammation than those who didn’t.”

Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other chronic diseases can be triggered or made worse because of inflammation. If nuts are proving to reduce inflammatory biomarkers, then it makes sense that eating them will keep you healthier overall.

Many nuts contain similar properties such as fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. The scientists can attest that consuming nuts decreases inflammation. However, they still cannot pinpoint which element in nuts is to be thanked most for this discovery. It could be L-Arginine, unsaturated fat, fiber, something else, or a combination of a few.

That’s Just Nuts!

Here are some nutritional highlights about various types of nuts:

One ounce of almonds provides about 9% of daily adult recommended calcium and 27% of magnesium. They also contain zinc and vitamin E.

Cashews have a lower caloric content than many any nuts. They’re high in iron, zinc, and potassium.

Hazelnuts provide copper, biotin (great for hair and nails), and vitamin E.

Macadamia nuts are high in manganese and natural antioxidants.

Peanuts contain resveratrol (the compound in red wine that promotes healthy aging.)

Pecans contain the alpha and the gamma forms of vitamin E.

Pine nuts offer potassium, iron, copper, and zinc.

Pistachios– two ounces provide more potassium than a big banana.

Walnuts contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

There are over 50 different types of nuts from all over the world. Mix and match, consume and help keep your body inflammation-free.

For more articles on health, nutrition, and avoiding disease, check out www.GetThrive.com

3 Healthy, Proven, Mood-Boosting Snacks

If you tend to lean toward low energy and/or depression, the foods you eat can either be culprits or heroes. Ingesting certain items can make you feel worse. But the good news is, there are foods and snacks that will actually help improve and boost your mood.

Moods, Hormones, Depression, and Inflammation

Sometimes we fall into phases of the dumps. Most of the time the cause is a chemical imbalance. If we’re stressed out all the time, the overload of cortisol eventually wears us down. If we’re not sleeping properly, our “body clock” falls out of rhythm and can lead to mild depression.

Probably one of the biggest culprits for causing the blues is the food we eat. If our diet is full of processed foods, wheat, refined sugars, our ability to process vitamins will be weak. If we’re malnourished, our brain responds by acting blah.

Over 80 percent of our serotonin (feel good) hormone lives in our gut. If our digestive system isn’t functioning optimally, it makes sense that our serotonin levels will be imbalanced. Then, how are we expected to feel good?

In fact, there can even be inflammation in your brain from certain foods. Reducing toxin overload will definitely pick up your spirits. Try choosing these healthy snacks and see if your mood gets the positive boost you’re seeking.

Walnuts

Grab a handful each day, and you’re sure to benefit nutritionally. These nuts contain Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which are neuroprotective compounds. They’re also high in antioxidants.

For women, walnuts have been found to help reduce nausea in pregnancy. But for men, in particular, these nuts have been shown to improve their mood by up to 28 percent. They also contain melatonin, which manages our circadian rhythm, helping us sleep better. Most everyone’s in a better mood after they’ve had a good night’s rest.

Hummus

This middle-eastern dip is so versatile and yummy. Its main ingredient is chickpeas, also know as garbanzo beans. Garbanzos are super high in folate, which is vitaminB9.

Studies have shown that many people who are depressed are also low in folate levels—sometimes even deficient. Perhaps that’s because low B9 levels are associated with low levels of serotonin. Garbanzo beans are higher in folate than even spinach and broccoli!

Hummus is generally a mixture of the beans with pureed sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic, and other spices. In most markets today, you can find plain hummus and also various flavors like: sun-dried tomato, sriracha, and avocado. It’s perfect for carrot, celery, or sweet potato chip dipping.

Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds

Grab a handful of seeds for snack, and you’ll find yourself happier for a couple of reasons. First off, there’s an element of satisfaction in crunching and chewing. Secondly, these seeds (along with hemp, flax, and chia) have the good fats. They help our bodies absorb nutrients from the other healthy foods we eat.

Happy belly makes for a clearer and balanced mind. So, don’t be afraid to snack on healthy grub. In fact, embrace it—it’s worth trying if it makes you feel better. Check out Thrive for other tips on nutrition and positive living.

Even More Nutty News

We’ve been reminded a lot lately about the health benefits of eating nuts. In this latest study, however, the findings are more impressive than ever.

What’s Not Nuts About Nuts?

Nuts are a food source that have proven to decrease inflammation. Since inflammation is linked to physical ailments such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and others, it’s a great thing when you can eat something that will help reduce levels of inflammation, right?

A couple of other advantageous things about including nuts into our diet are that they contain lots of fiber and protein. We need fiber to help digest efficiently and keep our pipes from clogging. Protein, of course, is a must if we want to maintain optimum levels of energy and good health. Protein helps maintain tissue, build muscle, repair and produce new cells, along with many other functions.

An Ounce a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

According to the study just published in BMC Medicine, a mere 1-ounce of nuts is enough to significantly lower the risk of major disease. And even though nuts are high in fat, they have the “good” fat. Nut studies are showing that consuming small portions of nuts can even lower the risk of obesity!

Researchers at Imperial College, London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed 29 global studies on the effects of nuts on health. Those studies cumulatively included over 800,000 participants. What they discovered is that such a small amount of food (only 1-ounce of nuts) had an incredibly profound effect on lowering risk of disease—and in many cases, reduced disease in those already affected.

A small daily serving was found to reduce diabetes by almost 40 percent and cut premature death by 22 percent.

Getting Nuttier

Although the study claims that 1-ounce of nuts makes a huge difference, the researchers stressed that larger amounts did not improve health benefits exponentially. Adding the superfood into salads, oatmeal, or grabbing a handful is one more step towards healthy living. Substituting nuts for junk food is stellar—don’t just add nuts to a lousy diet and think that’s good enough.

Previously, we posted some nutritional highlights about various types of nuts. Here they are in case you missed it:

One ounce of almonds provides about 9% of daily adult recommended calcium and 27% of magnesium. They also contain zinc and vitamin E.

Cashews have a lower caloric content than many any nuts. They’re high in iron, zinc, and potassium.

Hazelnuts provide copper, biotin (great for hair and nails), and vitamin E.

Macadamia nuts are high in manganese and natural antioxidants.

Peanuts contain resveratrol (the compound in red wine that promotes healthy aging.)

Pecans contain the alpha and the gamma forms of vitamin E.

Pine nuts offer potassium, iron, copper, and zinc.

Pistachios– two ounces provide more potassium than a big banana.

Walnuts contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which helps reduce level of bad cholesterol.

There are over 50 different types of nuts from all over the world. Mix and match, consume and help keep your body inflammation-free. Thrive!

Omega-3s May Prevent High Blood Pressure Later in Life

Most Omega-3 fatty acid studies have been focused on those who already have high blood pressure. A new study out of Switzerland, however, reveals some interesting findings from healthy participants aged 25 to 41.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Don’t be frightened by the term fatty acid. It’s a necessary element in our diet, and our body doesn’t naturally produce it. Omega-3s, in particular, have shown to improve the functioning of our blood vessels, decrease inflammation, and strengthen heart health. It can be found in foods such as: fish (salmon, tuna, halibut), walnuts, flaxseeds, olive oil, beans, winter squash, tofu, and others.

Very high doses of omega-3s can lower blood pressure momentarily. But what about long-term, moderate use? Will that prevent high blood pressure in the future? That’s what the scientists were wondering…

The Study

Lead researcher, Dr. Mark Filipovic, studied results from 2,000 participants in the program. Men and women, aged 25 to 41, were divided into four groups. All of the people were considered healthy, did not have diabetes and were not obese. (Those conditions tend to impact blood pressure levels.)

Those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had the lowest systolic and lowest diastolic of all the groups. Systolic pressure is the top number of the blood pressure reading; it measures the pressure exerted against artery walls when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, measures the pressure exerted when the heart rests between beats.

How an Omega-3-rich Diet Can Benefit You

The assumption, after that particular study, is that encouraging diets rich in omega-3s could be a tool in preventing high blood pressure. Filipovic expressed that, overall, if blood pressure levels were lowered—even a small amount—it would make a big difference. Fewer people might suffer strokes and heart attacks.

An alternate study, which focused on those who already have high blood pressure, noted that adding omega-3 fatty acids into their diet reduced their levels. Even less than a gram made a difference. (That’s a handful of walnuts and a half of an avocado, or a 4-ounce piece of Alaskan salmon.)

Instead of taking more supplements, it’s best to incorporate fresh foods that promote optimum health. And when it comes to your heart, you don’t want to mess around. Click here for other helpful information on good-for-your-body foods.