Monday, December 16, 2013

Go Nuts For Nuts - You'll Live Longer!
Nut Medley Recipe

Eating nuts can lengthen your life!

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Longevity Foods
Occasionally you'll hear someone promote a food that could improve your health and possibly extend your life but often it's not something you would want to eat everyday. Cholorella and spirulina come to mind. Or, it's not something you have easy access to like goji berries, for example. But a 30-year Harvard study recently revealed that plain old, easy-to-find nuts can help you live longer.

Amazing Study Results
In this study 119,000 men and women were tracked, making this the largest study of its kind. The results were astounding. Here's what they found:

Over the 30 year study period, people who ate just a handful of nuts (about 1/4 cup or an ounce) each day:

 * were 20% less likely to die from any cause,
 * had a 29% reduction in deaths from heart disease, and
 * had an 11% reduction in deaths from cancer.

There was also a linear relationship between how often people ate nuts and the amount of benefit they received. The more times a week they ate nuts, the longer they lived. 

 * Those who ate nuts less that once a week had a 7% reduction in mortality.
 * Those who ate nuts once a week had an 11% reduction,
 * two to four times per week, a 13% reduction,
 * five to six times per week, a 15% reduction, and
 * seven or more times a week, a 20% reduction.

But Aren't Nuts Fattening?
Nuts are high in calories because of their fat content and I'm sure if you ate a pound of nuts each day you would gain weight. But the study found that regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn't eat nuts. So eating a handful of nuts a day not only improves your chances of living longer but it can also keep your slimmer. 

What To Do (In my opinion)
So how can you take advantage of this good news? 
To take advantage of the many benefits of nuts, eat a variety of them, of course avoiding those you may be allergic to. Walnuts provide more omega-3 fatty acids, Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, almonds are high in vitamin E, pistachios provide vitamin B6, macadamia nuts and pecans are rich in manganese as are most other nuts. So mix it up!

I prefer to eat raw nuts because the roasting process can create carcinogenic chemicals. Some of the nuts that are sold as "raw" are actually blanched (like almonds) or exposed to high heats during the shelling process (like cashews). But at least they are not roasted in oil. 

Raw nuts, however, are high in phytic acid which can lower your absorption of minerals like, zinc, calcium, iron and others because it has a tendency to bind with them. If you are a raw foodist and nuts are a key part of your diet, this could be an issue. To prevent this, nuts could first be soaked, rinsed, and dehydrated. However, if you are only consuming an ounce or two of nuts a day, (which is all you really should be consuming to get health benefits) it's not a problem. 

I also prefer to eat unsalted nuts. I find that I can eat a handful of unsalted nuts but if they are salted, I want to eat a lot more. I cannot walk away from a bowl of salted pistachios!

Because of their high fat content, nuts can go rancid so always keep them in the refrigerator.

Store nuts in a large glass jar
and keep refrigerated.

Make a mixture of your favorite raw, unsalted nuts. 
 * Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.
 * Serve to your guests as an appetizer.
 * Put an ounce in everyone's lunchbox.
 * Put out a bowl for family "grazing".
 * Sprinkle nuts on top of green salads and fruit salads.

          *                                *                                *

Nut Medley
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 24 (1/4-cup) servings]

1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted English walnuts
1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted pecan halves
1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted cashews
1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted almonds
1 cup raw, shelled, unsalted Brazil nuts

Mix all ingredients and store in a glass jar. Refrigerate until needed. 
Enjoy a serving a day!

Per serving: 188 calories, 17 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 505 mg omega-3 and 5,692 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, and 1 mg sodium. 

Serve this nut medley to your holiday guests and put
1/4 cup servings in your family's lunchbox every day.


Wade said...

Great information Joanne, thanks. I wanted to also mention that 'soaked' nuts are sometimes referred to as 'sprouted'. My Whole foods store has started carrying some 'sprouted' nuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds in particular (in the raw foods aisle). These nuts have been soaked and dehydrated at low temperature and are a convenient way to avoid the phytic acid issues you mentioned.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Good point Wade. Thanks for mentioning that!