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Are Nuts Actually Healthy?

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Are Nuts Actually Healthy?

November 17
18:42 2017

Are nuts good or bad for you? What if I answered yes to both?

Nuts vary in types and varieties with some of what we think of as nuts are not really nuts. Technically, a nut is the internal seed part of a fruit. That may throw many of you but not all fruits are soft and juicy like a peach or apple. Some become hard like the shell of walnut or pecan. Did you know that if you open the pit inside a peach, nectarine, plum or cherry, you will find the nut, often referred to as a kernel, but they aren’t necessarily good for you?

Peach, plum, nectarine, cherry and apricot seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and eating too many can be rather unhealthy. Example, about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of soft peach nut contains about 88 milligrams (0.003 ounces) of cyanide. Is that a lot? One source says that if a 160-pound man ingests 0.36 grams (0.013 ounces) of potassium cyanide, there is a 50% chance he will be dead in 3 days. The probability of death increases to 90% if he ingests 0.55 grams (0.019 ounces).

However, peach and nectarine seeds also contain a chemical known as laetrile which has been used to kill cancer cells.

If you really want a shocking tidbit of information, an almond is the same as the inside nut of a fruit very similar to peaches, only the outside flesh is small and dries up. Additionally, every part of a cherry tree – leaves, back, wood, sap, roots, pit – is somewhat toxic. The only non-toxic part is the actual fruit.

Peanuts are not nuts, but the underground part of the root of the peanut plant, but most people think of peanuts as nuts.

Nuts in general – walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia, pistachio, pine nuts, and some seeds (pumpkin and sunflower) – have been found to contain healthy amounts of Omega-3 oils, unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols and L-arginine.  

Only 20 grams (about 0.7 ounces) of nuts every day have been found to reduce the risk of diabetes by close to 40% and helps to decrease the risk of some infectious diseases by 75%. Nuts have also been associated with protecting a person’s memory and boosting intelligence. One report even lists nuts as one of the foods that helps reduce the risk of developing dementia.

A recent study also suggest that a daily diet of nuts helps reduce low-density lipoproteins. What are they? That is the real name for bad cholesterol – LDL. Lowering one’s LDL can do a lot to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes. LDL is also largely to blame for the plaque build-up in a person’s veins that leads to cardiovascular disease.

It’s also being reported that nuts actually help improve the health of the lining in your arteries and reduces the risk of blood clots, which can be fatal. Nuts can also help reduce some inflammations that have been linked to heart disease.

Yet, another recent report suggested that nuts can make someone more susceptible to some viral infections and make it harder to fight and recover from a viral infection.

However, there is one main draw back to adding nuts to your daily diet. They are high in calories – mostly calories from fats and this can easily lead to packing on extra weight which is not healthy. Moderation is the key. I’ve seen sources say that the right amount of nuts fits in the center of the palm of your hand and another that says about 16-18 almonds is maximum. If you’re like me, I love nuts and eating just a few is difficult, but I have to consider the weight factor as well.

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