Nuts are a healthy addition to your food list to promote heart health. They are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Like nuts, seeds are little powerhouses full of these nutrients as well. Studies show that consumption of nuts and seeds can improve cholesterol, blood sugar and satiety. This encourages heart health and helps with weight loss as well.
Aren’t they too high in fat?
Many of us have heard that saturated fats are bad and have in turn thought that nuts and seeds are too high in fat for good health. However, the types of fat found in nuts and seeds are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, the kind that helps to lower LDL cholesterol, improving cardiovascular health.
What types of nuts and seeds should I eat?
In general, all nuts and seeds are healthy. For nuts, try almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts. Peanuts (which are actually a legume and not a nut) tend to be more inflammatory in nature, so it is best to limit these. For seeds, try flax, chia, and hemp. If you feel abdominal discomfort after eating nuts and seeds, try soaking them to enhance digestion.
What is the best way to eat them?
Nuts and seeds can be consumed in so many different ways. They can be eaten whole as a snack. I suggest that since these little bite size powerhouses are full of fat, to go raw instead of roasted in oil. I enjoy grinding my nuts and seeds and using their flour, along with nut and seed butters in recipes. I make nutritious seed and nut bars that are easy to make and store very well in the refrigerator. Paleo style baked goods commonly utilize nut and seed flours and their butters in recipes. This is a great way to transition unhealthy foods that are commonly high in simple carbohydrates to ones that are loaded with fiber and protein.
What else can I do for heart health?
If you are trying to promote cardiovascular health and are wondering about natural options, please feel free to contact me. I can order functional lab tests that determine cardiovascular risk and would be happy to provide a comprehensive plan to improve your health.