Harvard researchers found that eating 5 oz. of nuts (including peanuts) weekly can lower the risk of gallstones by up to 34%. Nuts’ magnesium, fiber and phytosterols may help keep the gallbladder from overloading with cholesterol, which otherwise can crystallize into painful gallstones. Read on to find how nuts benefit other, unexpected aspects of health — from bones to beautiful skin.
Macadamia nuts may finally be getting the respect they deserve. Though their saturated fat content excluded them from the FDA’s qualified heart-health claim, Pennsylvania State researchers found that a handful of macadamia nuts a day reduced total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol by about 9%. The effect may be due to the increased monounsaturated fat from the daily macadamia diet.
Almonds contain resistant starch, which selectively feeds the “good” bacteria that guard the intestinal tract against foodborne viruses, according to a study by the Institute of Food Research. Other prebiotic benefits include increased fat burning, appetite regulation and enhanced calcium absorption. Maybe that’s why adding almonds to your diet boosts intake of other nutrients while also helping dieters cut back on calories.
Walnuts could help calm and moisten dry, irritated skin. An ounce of walnuts contain TWICE the amount of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids found in the flaxseed/borage oils used by German and French scientists to reduce skin redness and dry, flaky skin. The study of 45 women ages 18 to 65 found that skin redness was reduced by 44% after 12 weeks, and the skin also retained 17 to 19% more water.
BONUS: Don’t sabotage the health benefits of nuts by eating them salted. A recent large-scale analysis of studies from 23 countries implicated salt at fault in 81% of preventable heart disease deaths.