The 3rd of August annually brings to our attention a fun and whimsical holiday: "Grab Some Nuts" Day! This light-hearted celebration, in truth, has some serious health benefits behind it.
As advocates for balanced, healthy living, we at JUST BETTER BRANDS are just nuts about sharing healthy snacking tips. 😉 Let’s get crackin on some interesting and fun facts about nuts!
Nuts are nature's very own portable, nutrient-dense powerhouses. They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins, and - an aspect that often gets overlooked-fiber!
Here are some notable health benefits of nuts:
Rich in Antioxidants: Walnuts and pecans, among other nuts, are packed with powerful antioxidants, including ellagic acid, vitamin E, and selenium.
Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to disease. Free radicals arise naturally during metabolism but can surge during times of environmental stress, like exposure to toxins.
The high antioxidant content in nuts helps combat oxidative stress, protects against cellular damage, and reduces inflammation, fortifying the body's resilience and keeping us strong!
Heart Health: Nuts are rich sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (MUFA and PUFA), which are known for their heart-healthy effects.
MUFAs and PUFAs help to decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol. By doing so, they lower the risk of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts contain L-arginine, an amino acid that converts into nitric oxide in the body and helps your arteries become more flexible and less prone to blood clots. Pretty cool, right?!
Weight Management: Nuts may seem high in calories, but their complex matrix of protein, fiber, and healthy fats actually promotes a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, helping to suppress excessive snacking and overeating.
The protein and fiber in nuts slow down digestion, providing a sustained release of energy rather than causing blood sugar spikes and crashes that lead to hunger pangs.
Fun Fact: Research suggests that not all calories in nuts are absorbed by the body (with a portion eliminated), making them a less calorie-dense snack than one might think.
Blood Sugar Control: The unique combination of being low in carbs and high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein makes nuts an ideal snack for blood sugar control.
The fiber and protein content in nuts slows the rate at which carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, which leads to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels compared to foods that are low in fiber or protein.
This makes nuts a smart choice for individuals with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those at risk of developing these conditions.
Brain Health: Nuts, especially walnuts, are rich in DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain.
These fatty acids are associated with improved cognitive performance, including memory and thinking abilities.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in nuts can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are linked to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. By incorporating nuts into your meal plan, you’re nourishing your brain and protecting it for the long haul. 🤓 Now that’s smart!
Highlight on Gut Health
In our journey to understand the health benefits of nuts, it is important to highlight their significant impact on our gut health. Here's what nuts are up to!
Fiber-Rich & Prebiotic: Nuts are a rich source of dietary fiber, an essential nutrient that feeds the good-for-you bacteria found in our gut microbiome.
Nourishment for Gut Microbiota: Our gut microbiota, a complex community of microbes, plays a significant role in our overall health, from aiding digestion and nutrient absorption to supporting our immune system.
When we consume fiber from nuts, we're nourishing these microbes, helping them to thrive, multiply, and maintain a happy, balanced ecosystem.
Reduced Risk of Gut-Related Diseases: Regular intake of fiber-rich foods lowers the risk of developing gut-related diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer.
The prebiotic effect of nut fiber helps maintain the integrity of the gut lining, reducing inflammation and the risk of disease. Happy gut, happy life!
Want to enhance your gut health even more?
To further support your gut health, consider integrating our all-natural, single-ingredient, 100% dissolvable, and flavorless fiber supplement, just better.® prebiotic fiber, into your healthy living routine. It works together with the food you already eat to ensure your gut microbiota gets all the nourishment it needs, promoting a healthy, balanced gut.
Top 5 Happy Gut Nuts
Almonds: Almonds top the list because they're particularly high in fiber, providing 3.5g per ounce. They also contain a substantial amount of protein and vitamin E.
Pistachios: Pistachios are unique in that they contain a type of fiber called inulin, which acts as a prebiotic. Inulin feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping them flourish.
Walnuts: Walnuts are abundant in ALA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, which can help reduce inflammation in the gut. They also have an impressive amount of fiber.
Hazelnuts: These nuts are packed with antioxidants, promoting overall gut health and reducing inflammation.
- Pecans: Pecans are high in antioxidants and fiber, helping with gut health and providing a prebiotic effect.
Incorporating a variety of these gut-friendly nuts into your meal plan can significantly improve your overall health.
Here are a few creative ways to go a little nuts in your meal plan:
Salad Toppers: Give your daily salads a healthy crunch by adding toasted walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds. This not only enhances texture but also amps up the nutritional value! Woohoo!
Nutty Breakfast Bowl: Stir chopped nuts into your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothie bowls to add protein and healthy fats to energize your breakfast. Vroom!
Go Nuts Pasta: Toast some pine nuts or slivered almonds and sprinkle them over pasta or risotto dishes for an elevated unique twist. Pinkies up!
Nutty Quinoa: Add toasted nuts to your quinoa and veggies for a delightful crunch and a boost of protein and fiber. So satisfying!
Stir-frys: Toss a handful of cashews into your stir-fry for added texture and flavor. They pair exceptionally well with Asian sauces. Don’t forget to add just better.® fiber to all your everyday recipes, including stir-fries; make everything fiber-rich!
Stuffed Vegetables: Use finely chopped nuts as a part of the stuffing for bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or eggplant, giving your dishes an added layer of flavor and heartiness. 📸 An Insta-worthy dish!
Homemade Pesto: (Our fav! Check out our just better.® Walnut Pistachio Pesto here!) Instead of classic pine nuts, try making pesto with walnuts and/or pistachios. You'll be surprised by the depth of flavor these nuts can add to your pasta, sandwiches, and salad dressings. Chef’s kiss!
In a nutshell…
From antioxidants to heart health, brain health, weight management, blood sugar control, and gut health—nuts pack a punch in every aspect.
So let's give a cheer for nuts - a tiny but mighty source of countless health benefits!
With every handful, you're not only treating your taste buds but also supporting your overall well-being. Now, that's something worth celebrating!
And remember to fortify your gut health every day with just better.® prebiotic fiber. A simple-to-use supplement that can be added to your favorite drinks or meals! Fiber up for gut health!