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Incredible Effects of Eating Nuts Every Day, Says Dietitian

Snack on a handful of nuts for some powerful benefits!

Nuts are one of the most underrated food categories. Small but oh so mighty, every nut is packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, and even better, each nut has its own nutritional profile. Looking to boost your vitamin E status? Go with almonds. Wanting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet? Snack on walnuts. Need to chill out and destress? Cashews are an excellent source of nervous system soothing magnesium.

Nuts are an excellent addition to salads, soups, yogurt bowls, or on their own as a snack. There are so many reasons to enjoy nuts, including these five top effects.

After, for more healthy tips, here are the Incredible Effects of Eating Oatmeal Every Day.

1

Nuts are associated with a better mood.

happy women eating nuts
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In recent years, researchers have finally been able to link mood, specifically depression to diet. The landmark SMILES trial was able to show that following a modified Mediterranean diet can improve symptoms of depression. One serving of nuts per day was included with the intervention group which ended up showing marked improvement in depression symptoms.

Another study looked at diet's role in depression among young adults. For this study, participants were told to consume two to three tablespoons of nuts and seeds per day along with other dietary modifications. Similar to the former study, this showed improvement in depression symptoms and episodes.

There are many reasons why nuts can improve mood. Two of them include the amino acid profile of nuts which are beneficial to the brain as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are neuroprotective.

2

Nuts will make your meals more satisfying.

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We've all been there, you have a bowl of plain yogurt begging for a crunch or a vegetable soup that may be packed with nutrition but is lacking texture and excitement. This is where a handful of nuts will not only improve the mouthfeel of your meals by adding a satisfying crunch but will boost satiety by adding fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

Satiety is a measure of how long you stay full after a meal and it is influenced by the hormonal and blood sugar changes after eating a meal. The key to a satiating meal is including fiber, fat, and protein. Though small, nuts pack a mighty nutritional punch by being full of all three: fat, fiber and protein.

3

Nuts are associated with decreased inflammation.

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Consumption of nuts has been linked to lower markers of inflammation. Nuts, especially almonds are rich in vitamin E, providing about 47% of the recommended daily intake in one serving. Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant and protects cells from oxidative stress which in turn, helps lower inflammation.

4

Nuts are cardio-protective.

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An important part of a heart-healthy diet is including more foods that are rich in mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. Nuts are rich in both and they are an especially good source of the polyunsaturated fat known as omega-3 fatty acids.

One way to decrease high triglyceride levels which are a risk factor for cardiac events is by increasing omega-3 fats. In addition, consuming these types of healthier fats is associated with higher HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

5

Nuts will regulate blood sugar levels.

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Blood sugar is influenced by the amount of protein, fat, fiber, and of course, carbohydrates that are present in food. Eat a juicy apple on its own for a snack and you will likely be hungry again in 30 minutes and you might even experience sugar cravings, an energy dip, or feel shaky.

But apples are healthy, so why is this? Well, an apple on its own is mainly carbohydrates which will increase and then decrease your blood sugar quickly. Now, pair a handful of nuts or nut butter with the apple and you will have less of a blood sugar spike and crash otherwise known as an elongated blood sugar curve.

When blood sugar curves are less "spikey" our snacks will actually keep us fuller, longer, and will lead to fewer energy dips and cravings.

Sydney Greene, MS, RD
Sydney Greene is a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition for addiction recovery, disordered eating, and body image, as well as chronic digestive issues. Read more