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Go ‘NUTS’ over nuts & seeds

mixedckGauri Rokkam

For great health, nuts and seeds should be included in your daily diet. They pack a mighty punch in fighting diseases and contribute to enhanced longevity. They provide plenty of fiber, plant protein, polyphenols, plant sterols, vitamins, and minerals.
The antioxidant compounds in nuts help protect the polyunsaturated fats from oxidation, and so they become the best type of fats available in nature.
Some research findings: Eating five or more servings of nuts per week was associated with a 35 percent reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Why: They have powerful cholesterol-lowering effect, improve endothelial function & reduce oxidative stress. Some seeds, particularly adding flaxseed to the diet has been found in many clinical trials to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The inclusion of nuts and seeds in a plant-rich diet offers protection against diabetes. Why: it lowers the glycaemicload (due to the presence of fibre & natural good fat) of the diet thus reducing insulin resistance.
There is a reduction in cancer risk by consuming one or more servings of nuts daily.Why: Flax, sesame, and chia seeds contain lignans, phytochemicals with anti-estrogenic actions, found to be protective against breast cancerand possibly against endometrial, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Phytochemicals from nuts and seeds have anti-proliferative, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
Nut consumption is also associated with lower likelihood of gaining weight. Why:The fats and fiber slow the emptying of the stomach leading to satiation. This results in a compensatory decrease in calorie intake from other foods throughout the day. Some studies have suggested that many of the calories in nuts do not get absorbed from the digestive tract. So 30g of nuts, which would be listed at 150-200 calories, doesn’t truly deliver all of those calories.
Walnuts and almonds could be helpful in overall cognition,for preventing age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Why:due to the presence of BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor).
I recommend using nuts and seeds as your major dietary source of fat. Have at 30 to 60g of nuts and seeds per day, and make half of your nut and seed intake those high in omega-3s (walnuts and flax, chia, and hemp seeds). Most important:Remember to cut down on visible fats to get the above listed benefits.
Gauri Rokkam, Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Therapist and Lactation Consultant and also a resident of Koramangala.

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