Need some convincing about the benefits of nuts? From good gut bacteria to lower allergy risk, the latest science has it covered.
1. Go nuts to grow good gut bacteria
A new study has shown eating a large handful of walnuts (42g) a day can improve your gut health in just three weeks. The US study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found walnuts increased the number of beneficial gut bacteria, which improved the overall composition and function of gut flora (microbiota).
This is one of four studies in the past year linking nuts with better gut health and researchers say it may be one of the mechanisms that explains the many health benefits nuts provide.
Earlier this year, the same US researchers discovered crunching your nuts was better for gut health than tucking into a nut butter. The study, published in Nutrients, showed eating whole and roasted almonds spurred on the growth of different types of good gut bacteria, but eating almond butter had no impact on the gut.
2. Eating nuts improves sperm count
Snacking on nuts every day may boost men’s fertility. Results from a recent Spanish study showed significant improvements in sperm quality and sperm count among trial participants who ate 60g of mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) a day for 14 weeks.
Among the nut eaters, sperm counts were 16 per cent higher than the group of men who ate no nuts. Improvements were also noted in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology – all factors associated with male fertility. Researchers noted similar findings had previously been linked to diets high rich in omega-3, vitamin C and E, selenium, zinc, and folate – nutrients also found in nuts.
3. Eat more protein from nuts and less from meat for a healthier diet
A new study may have you rethinking the foods you choose to bump up the protein on your plate. Researchers at Loma Linda University (US) examined the impact of eating plant and animal protein on heart health by reviewing the dietary data of 81,337 men and women from the famed Adventist Health Study.
They found people with the highest intakes of nuts and seeds had a 40 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, than those who rarely ate nuts and seeds. On the other hand, the biggest meat eaters had a 61 per cent higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease, than those who ate the least meat. There were no significant associations found for protein from processed foods, grains, legumes, fruit or vegetables.
For a healthy diet, the researchers recommended less protein from meat and higher intakes of plant protein from nuts and seeds.
4. Letting kids go nuts may lower allergy risks
Eating nuts may help reduce allergies in younger children. A new European study looked at the impact of diet on asthma and allergy in children aged 4 - 6 years.
It found those who ate nuts had a 61 per cent reduced risk of eczema compared to those who ate no nuts at all, while those who ate fruit at least three times a week were significantly less likely to suffer from wheezing. These results were adjusted to take into account lifestyle factors and family medical history.
Join the #nuts30days30ways challenge
The #nuts30days30ways challenge is all about inspiring Australians to snack on a handful of nuts each day, for a month, to help them develop a tasty habit with big health benefits.
To join the challenge in three easy steps:
1. Eat a handful of nuts a day in September.
2. Watch #nuts30days30ways for daily inspiration.
3. Share your nut snacks with the hashtag #nuts30days30ways to go into the draw for great prizes. For all the details follow @nuts_for_life on Instagram.
You might also like: