Nuts are a very healthy source of fat for several reasons, and it is easy to add to your diet.
While all nuts provide health benefits, some offer more benefits than others.
Pistachios are the best ones.
Research has documented that pistachios provide cardiovascular benefits by reducing LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol (Kasliwal RR, et.al.,2015). This was achieved with a daily consumption of 40 g of pistachios daily for 3 months, which also improved brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation and carotid-femoral and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. These are measurements of the function of the inner lining of the blood vessels and arterial stiffness. In addition to all of this, the blood glucose levels also improved.
Even if you have diabetes, nuts can help you.
25 g of pistachio nuts twice daily decreased fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, and CRP, an inflammatory marker (Parham M, et.al., 2014). Not bad for snacking on some nuts twice a day.
Another nut which is also among the best is walnuts.
Walnuts measured the highest amounts of polyphenols when 9 types of nuts were compared (Vinson JA, Cai Y, 2012). Polyphenols are antioxidants that would inhibit oxidative processes leading to atherosclerosis.
A high-fat meal has shown to decrease endothelial function, but if you add 40 g of walnuts to the meal, it will improve flow-mediated dilation (Cortes B, et.al., 2006). Walnuts will also decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol and inflammation. Oxidized LDL is the most dangerous LDL.
Do you have high cholesterol?
Even in people with high cholesterol, walnuts have shown to improve endothelial function and reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (Ros E, et.al., 2004).
You can even help to improve your brain function by eating walnuts. The polyphenol in walnuts has not only been found to reduce the oxidant and inflammatory exposure of brain cells but has also been found to improve interneuronal signaling (Poulose SM, et.al., 2014).
Kasliwal RR, Bansal M, Mehrotra R, Yeptho KP, Trehan N. Effect of pistachio nut consumption on endothelial function and arterial stiffness. Nutrition. 2015 May;31(5):678-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.019. Epub 2014 Nov 7. PMID: 25837212
Parham M, Heidari S, Khorramirad A, Hozoori M, Hosseinzadeh F, Bakhtyari L, Vafaeimanesh J. Effects of pistachio nut supplementation on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized crossover trial. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014 Summer;11(2):190-6. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2014.11.190. Epub 2014 Aug 10. PMID: 25396407
Vinson JA, Cai Y. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):134-40. doi: 10.1039/c2fo10152a. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PMID: 22187094
Cortés B, Núñez I, Cofán M, Gilabert R, Pérez-Heras A, Casals E, Deulofeu R, Ros E. Acute effects of high-fat meals enriched with walnuts or olive oil on postprandial endothelial function. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Oct 17;48(8):1666-71. Epub 2006 Sep 26. PMID: 17045905
Ros E, Núñez I, Pérez-Heras A, Serra M, Gilabert R, Casals E, Deulofeu R. A walnut diet improves endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic subjects: a randomized crossover trial.. Circulation. 2004 Apr 6;109(13):1609-14. Epub 2004 Mar 22. PMID: 15037535
Poulose SM, Miller MG, Shukitt-Hale B. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4 Suppl):561S-566S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.184838. Epub 2014 Feb 5. Review. PMID: 24500933