Why we’re nuts about nuts

Why we’re nuts about nuts

If you look at the ingredient lists on Step One products, you’ll find they’re all made with nuts. That’s because nuts are really good for you.

For starters, nuts contain healthy fats, which help lower cholesterol. Nuts also contain fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer, and helps lower type 2 diabetes risk. In addition, nuts are a good source of L-arginine, a substance that dilates arteries, improves blood flow, and helps lower blood pressure.

And all those health benefits add up to significant improvements in health outcomes. A brand new study from Harvard, that included over 200,000 people, found that those who regularly ate nuts, including walnuts, tree nuts, and peanuts*, experienced less heart disease as compared to people who never or almost never ate them. For example, consuming walnuts at least once per week was associated with a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Eating other nuts (including peanuts) two or more times per week was associated with similar favorable results.

This data is consistent with another large trial, the PERIMED study, which showed that eating walnuts more than 3 times per week was associated with a 47% reduction in deaths from heart disease. To put that in perspective, quitting smoking - or taking a statin - reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36%.

No wonder some physicians refer to raw nuts as “little health capsules”.  And no wonder you’ll find raw nuts, and especially walnuts, in every Step One product.

And now that you know how good they are for you, here are some ideas on how to incorporate nuts into your Thanksgiving celebration – to boost the health quotient of the meal, while still delivering on taste and tradition:

Add nuts to your stuffing

No matter what type of stuffing your family enjoys, adding a handful of pecans, cashews or walnuts can enhance flavor and help keep hearts healthy.

Serve desserts that incorporate nuts

From pecan pie to nut loaf, there are many nut-centric desserts you can make part of your Thanksgiving tradition. So bake on!

Add nuts to your steamed veggies and salads

Lemon green beans with slivered almonds or a salad topped with pomegranate seeds, sliced pear and walnut pieces are tasty side dishes that are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, are good for your heart and waistline, and look great on your holiday table.

Serve nuts as the appetizer

Offering nuts while everyone gathers encourages a healthy start to the meal. Raw nuts are always best. Otherwise, either purchase lightly salted versions - or mix raw and salted nuts in equal portions to cut down on the sodium.

Source: http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/70/20/2533

*Peanuts are technically legumes but with a similar fatty acid and nutrient profile as other nuts.

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