Did you know that fruit and vegetable consumption in the United States has declined? Fruits and vegetables are important to the diet because they contain compounds called polyphenols. There is also one other food source that contains this helpful compound that many would overlook—nuts. Polyphenols act as antioxidants and may help with some health problems or even aging. Consumption of polyphenols may lead to anti-inflammatory effects. They can also block the actions of enzymes that are needed for cancer growth.
A study analyzed nine types of nuts and peanut butter. Researchers found that walnuts contained the most polyphenols. This study also found walnuts to be the best lipoprotein-bound antioxidants compared to peanut butter and almonds. Not only do nuts contain polyphenols they are low in saturated fats and high in fiber. Nuts have a favorable fatty acid and nutrient profile. Fat accounts for 50-75% of the weight of the nut. Don’t let the fat content of nuts deter you. The fat is a monounsaturated fat that may improve blood cholesterol levels. Nuts are known to have a favorable effect on lipid profiles. Studies have shown that nuts aren’t associated with weight gain and those who eat nuts regularly are 31% less likely to gain weight!
Unless you are allergic to nuts, try adding them into your diet. Toss some nuts with your salad or maybe toss some crushed nuts in your yogurt. You could also place nuts in your homemade muffins or snack on roasted nuts instead of chips. Many way to add nuts into the diet, be creative!