Raw nuts are an excellent source of healthy fat, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber; contrary to popular belief, eating healthy fat actually helps you to lose weight. What is far more frequently the cause of weight gain is the excessive consumption of sugar and non-vegetable fiber carbs.
What modern scientific studies are increasingly demonstrating is that a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet is one of the most effective ways to shed stubborn weight as it helps shift your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel.
Regular nut consumption has been demonstrated to lead to weight loss as one of its many health benefits. Compared to people who avoid nuts, those people who regularly consume nuts tend to have:
• Lower systolic blood pressure
• Fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome and a lower risk for diabetes
• Better cardiovascular health
• Reduced mortality risk
• Greater longevity
Nuts have also been linked to life extension and reduced risk of disease.
A number of studies have linked nut consumption to life extension. One large-scale, 30-year long Harvard study found that:
- People who ate a small handful (approx. 28gms) of nuts 7 times per week or more were 20% less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts.
- Eating nuts at least five times per week was associated with a 29% drop in mortality risk from heart disease, and an 11% drop in mortality risk from cancer.
- Even those who ate nuts only occasionally — less than once a week — had a 7% reduction in mortality.
More recently, Dutch researchers have found that people who ate just 10gms of nuts each day had a 23% lower risk of death from any cause. This study went on for 10 years and included more than 120,000 men and women between the ages of 55 and 69. In addition, “the research revealed a decrease in neurodegenerative disease by 43%, respiratory disease by 39% and diabetes by 30% for people who consumed nuts more. People who eat nuts also suffer fewer deaths due to cancer, heart problems and respiratory diseases."
When considering nuts, remember that Macadamia and Pecans provide the highest quantities of healthy fat, while being on the lower end in terms of carbohydrates and protein. Raw Macadamia nuts also contain high quantities of vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese. Just one serving of Macadamia nuts nets you 58% of your required daily consumption of manganese and 23% of the recommended daily consumption of thiamin.
Interestingly, around 60% of the fatty acid in Macadamia is of the monounsaturated fat oleic acid variety. This is similar to the levels found in olives, which are well known for their varied health benefits. This is a small fact that is not well known and rarely mentioned when discussing the benefits of Macadamias.
Pecans also boast more than 19 different vitamins and minerals that studies suggest can help you lower LDL cholesterol and promote healthy arteries.
Unlike Almonds, Macadamias and Pecans have almost no omega-6 or omega-3 the little that they have is 90% less than that found in Almonds. With respect to protein, 28gms of Macadamia nuts will provide you with only 2.2gms of protein, while a similar serving of Almonds will provide nearly 3 times as much. Finally, 28gms of Macadamia nuts only has 4gms of carbs, but over half of those are non-digestible fiber so it provides an ultra-low 2gms of sugar per ounce of nuts.
Walnuts are another excellent choice with many health-boosting properties, including anti-cancer activity (cutting breast cancer risk in mice by 50%, and prostate cancer growth by 30% to 40%), and improved reproductive health in men, just to mention a couple.
The following table shows the fat, protein, and carbohydrate content in grams per one ounce (28gms) for the most common tree nuts available. The ones toward the top have what we consider more ideal nutrient ratios, i.e. higher fat, moderate-to-low protein, and fewer carbs.
Could you live on a nut only diet? Probably not, and we certainly would not recommend that's all you eat. But should you eat nuts every day? You betcha!