You can toss them into a salad. You can mix them with hot or cold cereals. They also pair well with pan-seared vegetables. What is this wonder ingredient that any pantry should not be without? Nuts! And if you are not quite intrigued yet, then wait until you hear how nuts work to your advantage if you’re trying to lose weight. The evidence is overwhelming as to why nuts (and their legume counterpart, the peanut) are a very healthy snack and how they affect your body’s capacity for dropping unwanted pounds. The key, though, is moderation just like with any other food or beverage, writes Gracy Liura.
According to an article in the New York Times that focuses on a study published in 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine, nuts can lead to a longer life. Participants in the study were less likely to die from most forms of cancer, or develop heart or respiratory diseases. Interestingly enough, these participants were found to have less issues with weight gain. Now you might wonder, and rightfully so, how can nuts aid in weight management if they are high in fat and calories—and perhaps more so compared to other snacks. Looking at what tree nuts and some legumes have to offer is quite interesting since they are much more nutritious than previously thought.
High in fiber—this helps with the digestive system and with increasing metabolic rate; complex carbs that are high in fiber also tend to “burn” off more slowly, thus leaving you feeling fuller for longer period of time without the “crash” that accompanies simple carbs.
High in protein—this also helps with decreasing appetite and staying fuller throughout the day; protein is also vital in muscle-building and retention, which again increases metabolism.
Consist of unsaturated fat—this refers to the “good fat” that does not impede the circulatory system like trans-fat and saturated fat, which means that levels of protective HDL cholesterol are sustained without the build-up of harmful LDL cholesterol.
Contain plant sterols and micronutrients—sterols also help lower the levels of harmful cholesterol, while copper and magnesium add some extra protection again heart disease.
Possess high levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids—these guard again inflammation and prevent the build-up of arterial plaque which results in lower blood pressure.
Excellent sources of Vitamin E and antioxidants—these also safeguard the body against inflammation and some forms of cancer, like colorectal and pancreatic according to study conducted back in 1992 in Taiwan.
Contains resveratrol—this chemical enhances blood flow, which is beneficial to all parts of the body in relation to weight loss and exercise.
How do these qualities factor into weight loss?
Basically all of the components, combined with the HCG diet drops, work together to unleash the body’s fat-burning potential while still protecting muscle tissue and vital organs. The preventative qualities of nuts decrease the risk for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, both of which tend to be part of a vicious cycle known as a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, if you are experiencing peaks and valleys in blood pressure and/or glucose levels, then you’re less to feel motivated enough to take a short walk, much less head over to the gym for a workout. However, if you avoid these chronic conditions altogether, you’re looking at a major advantage to your weight loss efforts, especially when it comes to being able to completely follow the HCG protocol.
Another quality of nuts, the high fiber, plays a phenomenal role in the weight loss game due to their hard cellular structure. This means, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, that nuts are very resistant to the digestive process. The strongest evidence in the study showed that only about one-fifth of the fat from nuts is actually digested, and mostly, it consists of unsaturated fat, which is safe for your heart. Weaker evidence from this study implies that the body may burn more energy while digesting nuts. Nonetheless the fiber content is excellent for both the condition of the digestive system to maintain regularity and for preventing the “sugar rush and crash” that comes with consuming simple, processed carbs. Another benefit of having a combination of fiber and protein is that you will feel fuller for a longer period of time, which makes nuts a more ideal, substantial snack as opposed to chips or cookies. The only caveat is to eat in moderation—which is the basic rule for just about any food while following the HCG program, especially the second phase.
Also, don’t forget about nut butters. These can be found in just about any grocery store in their purest form. Remember though, that you will be looking for specifically a nut butter that says “plain” or something of the sort on the label. When you look at the list of ingredients on the back, you should make sure that butter contains the nut itself and its oil (these combine naturally in the smashing process; remember the oil is not saturated and is needed to keep the butter from drying out.) and perhaps salt, though that is not always necessary. There should not be any type “natural” sweetener, like molasses for instance, because this ingredient would slow down or cause a plateau in your weight loss efforts. Although natural nut butters can be a bit pricy, they are definitely worth the extra cost because of their versatility as a spread for a snack and even as an ingredient in some recipes.
Specific Nuts with a Specific Purpose
Looking at few examples of healthy nuts and how their components provide an edge to your weight loss plan is quite helpful. Here are a few to consider stocking up on:
Walnuts—fight inflammation and symptoms of PMS—great for sustaining your energy levels; 14 walnut halves contain about 185 calories.
Almonds—the gold nugget of weight loss! In a study published by the International Journal of Obesity, two groups of obese adults closely followed a low-calorie diet for six months, and the group who partook of almonds instead of complex carbohydrates lost more weight. 23 nuts contain 170 calories.
Cashews—rich in zinc, magnesium, and iron, all of which are vital for healthy immune system, memory, and heart along with the prevention of anemia. These qualities support the energy (and mental capabilities) that are necessary for weight loss. 18 nuts equal 165 calories.
Macadamias—contain the most mono unsaturated fat of any nut which means that macadamias provide a further advantage in the weight loss process by facilitating a decrease in triglyceride and total cholesterol levels, according to a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University. 10 nuts contain about 200 calories.
Pistachios—aside from possessing major cancer-fighting qualities (specifically lung cancer according a study conducted by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center), pistachios are an ideal snack because of its shell. You actually have to slow down your eating while snacking on pistachios, and slower eating tends to decrease number and size of servings. 50 nuts equal about 160 calories.
These are just a few types of nuts that you can incorporate into your daily diet. They make great snacks since they are so filling, but also remember that you include them in various dishes as well.
Gracy is a dedicated and qualified nutritionist with over six years of experience in the Indian food industry, currently blogging at hCGdropsratings.com. On this website, she gives honest and detailed reviews on the world’s best HCG drops based on Google trends and Amazon, Ebay ratings. She has earned a MSc degree in Human Nutrition at Chinmaya degree College (BHEL) in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. You can contact her any time you’d want if you’ve got any questions regarding her guest posts.