Chronic inflammation seems to be, lately, one of the biggest enemies your body has. It can cause numerous diseases, more than we know about so far. But a new study reveals an ally that you have on hand: nuts fight inflammation!
People who eat more nuts seem to have lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood than people who don’t eat them on a regular basis, according to a study published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
It’s not the first time that nuts have been proven to have real health benefits in a study. They have been previously linked to a longer lifespan and lower rates of heart disease and diabetes.
The new research focused on the health records and dietary habits of over 5,000 men and women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study or the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
The research team paid close attention to the presence of markers for inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP) and Interleukin 6 (IL6), in their blood. The levels of these 2 compounds increase in the body in case of inflammation. Why does it matter that nuts fight inflammation? Because the continued presence of inflammation in your body is a lead contributor to chronic disease.
The findings of the research team showed that people who ate nuts five or more times a week had lower levels of CRP and IL6 than those who almost never ate nuts. Also, people who had nuts three times a week instead of red meat, eggs or refined grains had virtually the same health benefits.
Inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, primarily as a reaction to injury or infection. Inflammation is a reaction of our body to some stress factors like bacteria, fungus, or a virus. Chronic inflammation, which is a long-term type, can lead to some severe disease, including some types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever. Inflammation needs to be well regulated.
Why can nuts fight inflammation?
Dr. Ying Bao, the lead author on the study and an epidemiologist at Brigham Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, says that nuts are very rich in magnesium, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re all pretty crucial components when it comes to your health. Science is not yet sure which one of these is so good in the fight against inflammation, but the question will be the subject of future studies.
The fight against inflammation is still in its first phases. And the science on it is a bit vague. Keep in mind that the funds for this study were a grant from the non-profit International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.; And also that the study subjects didn’t provide information about the size of their servings.
Don’t forget that nuts have a pretty high caloric index, which means that it’s not exactly right for your diet to consume bigger servings. “I think people should be conscious of not going overboard and stick to the current American Heart Association recommendation of a handful of nuts per day,” said Dr. Ying Bao.
How can you consume nuts?
Taking all of the above into consideration, we recommend that you try some oatmeal with walnuts or almonds for breakfast, a couple of times a week. Try to roast some hazelnuts or pistachio and use them as that crunchy surprise factor in your salad. Or, if you don’t have time to create a more complex lunch, go for a peanut butter sandwich with a few banana slices. We love the crunchy peanut butter type.
Use your imagination and give nuts that place that they deserve so much in your menu. Your body will thank you!