We all enjoy good food, satisfying food. And by mid-morning, late-afternoon, it’s tough to say no to a treat.
Instead of reaching for the “junk food,” like cookies and candy bars, here’s another snack idea…
One that’s satisfying… good-tasting… mostly because it’s got that ingredient we all love… FAT.
In a recent study, a group of Brazilian researchers focused on this fatty little snack.
Their study involved a group of 37 severely obese women. The researchers tested the women’s blood before the study began. And, as it turned out, these severely overweight women were low in several key nutrients – selenium, for one. They also had less evidence of active antioxidants.
Which meant less ammunition against “free radicals” from pollution, chemicals, and other modern-day assaults.
So their health suffered. They were at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes… all the chronic diseases.
But then, each woman was asked to eat one of these snacks every day for 8 weeks.1
They wanted to see just what effect the snack had on the women’s overall nutrition.
And in that 8-week study, by eating just ONE of these yummy snacks, the women turned their health around.
After blood tests done at the end of the study, it was found that the women’s selenium levels were higher. They had more antioxidants in their bloodstreams – fighting against the free-radicals.
So what was the luscious snack that did all that?
But this group of researchers is ready to fill the candy bowl with it…
That’s right, one Brazil nut every day made these women healthier. The study appears in the journal, Nutrition Research.
With Brazil nuts in their daily diet, those ladies had a significant increase in their HDL (good) cholesterol. And that greatly reduced their risk of heart disease.
Just from one nut a day!
Another study had a similar finding about Brazil nuts – improved HDL, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improved overall total cholesterol. The levels of triglycerides (another “bad” fat) were lower, too.
That study involved teens living in Brazil. So, yes – this snack is healthy for people of all ages and sizes.2
In fact, nuts in general are good for you.
They are high in healthy fats called mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs, respectively), as well as protein, fiber, polyphenols (antioxidants), vitamins, and minerals.
Nuts are also rich in natural polysterols, which act much like “statin drugs” to improve cholesterol in your bloodstream.
And, nuts help control blood sugar. Research shows that they work particularly well after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. So if you happen to indulge in your favorite pasta dish? Make sure you eat a handful of nuts after. Your blood sugar stands a better chance of staying stable.3
The tricky thing about nuts, though, is the fat and calories. Can you gain weight from eating too many nuts?
Just the opposite, it seems. Eating nuts regularly may lower body weight and body fat, says one group of researchers. But that’s among people who are watching their calories.
And among people trying to lose weight, eating nuts helped them accomplish their goal – and keep the weight off. Nuts also improved insulin sensitivity – which means it helped control blood sugar, and prevent diabetes.4
The moral of this story: Fill those candy dishes with nuts instead. Brazil nuts are an especially good choice. Keep them in the pantry for after-school or after-work snacks. Or even bedtime snacks.
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