Posted on : 07-08-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Diabetes, History of Food, Losing it - weight loss & obesity, Uncategorized
After years of unfair persecution nuts are finally back on the healthy shopping list and not just as an occasional treat but as a daily prescription for good health. Most health authorities now recommend that we eat a handful of nuts a day. Not the salt-laden roasted nuts loitering beside your beer or the sticky chocolate coated, honey roasted types. We’re talking about natural, straight from the shell walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias, almonds, cashews and Brazils.
How can eating a handful of nuts a day help keep us healthy?
Helps control diabetes.
In a recent study, over 100 people with Type 2 diabetes were assigned to eat a daily snack of either 75 grams mixed nuts, a muffin or half of each. After three months the nut group had significantly lower LDL cholesterol and improved blood sugar control. What’s interesting is that the people in the half nuts, half muffin group didn’t show any significant improvement. The best results were when the nuts replaced the muffin, rather than being eaten as well as the muffin.
However, adding nuts to a carbohydrate meal may help reduce the post-meal sugar rise or glycemic response. Scientists noticed this effect in a small group of ten people who ate pistachios with rice, pasta or mashed potato. If pistachios with mashed spuds don’t appeal, try adding nuts to muesli, sprinkling cashews on your fried rice or spreading peanut butter on your whole-wheat crackers.
Helps control weight
Believe it or not, people who eat nuts gain less weight over time than those who don’t. There are many possible reasons for this: the filling effect of the fibre, the satiating effect of the protein, the glycemic control effect or perhaps the ‘shell-deterrent’ effect. It takes time to prise each nut out of its shell. This prevents mindless stuffing into the mouth, plus the growing pile of discarded shells provides a visual reminder of just how much you have eaten.
Like the now trendy ancient grains, nuts are also an ancient food. In the first book of the Bible (Genesis 43:11) Jacob told his sons to “Put some of the best products of the land in your bags…” to take down as a gift to the ruler of Egypt, who they did not realise was actually their brother Joseph whom they had sold to slave traders years before. Guess what they took? ‘… a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.’ We can be sure they would have selected only the most valuable products to impress Egypt’s ruler.
With the latest nutrition research finding so many health benefits, and the knowledge that nuts have been a highly valued food for thousands of years it’s time to pull those nuts out of the dark corner of our pantry and give them a more prominent place in our daily meals.