Nuts with the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratios may be the healthiest. In other words, increase your omega-3s and decrease omega-6s.
Conner Middelmann-Whitney explains in her recent post at Psychology Today. In a nutshell, they are linked to longer life and better health. For example:
In the largest study of its kind, Harvard scientists found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20% less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts. The study also found that regular nut-eaters were leaner than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should calm any fears that eating nuts will make you gain weight.
The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death. “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America,” according to Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But we also saw a significant reduction—11% —in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs.
Read the whole enchilada.
Nuts are integral to my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.
Walnuts seem to have the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio of all the common nuts. That may make them the healthiest nut. The jury is still out. Macadamia nuts also have a good ratio. Paleo dieters focus on cutting out omega-6s and increasing omega-3s. Julianne Taylor has a great post on how to do that with a variety of foods, not just nuts.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Brian’s Berry Breakfast
My stepson came up with this one. Thanks, dude! If you think breakfast means eating out of a bowl, this one fits the bill. And talk about easy!
- 4.5 oz (127 g) fresh strawberries, diced into small pieces
- 2 oz (58 g) walnuts, crumbled by hand
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy eating with a spoon while your tablemates eat Neolithic Cheerios.
- 76% fat
- 16% carbohydrate
- 8% protein
- 410 calories
- 17 carb grams
- 6.2 g fiber
- 10.9 g digestible carb
- prominent features: 80% of vitamin C RDA (recommended dietary allowance), 32% of RDA for phosphorus, 27% of RDA for iron, 25% of RDA for magnesium, 21% of RDA for vitamin B6, 19% of RDA for thiamine. It’s also particularly rich in copper and manganese.
PS: Nutritional analysis by free software at FitDay.com
Nuts are a time-honored component of the Mediterranean diet and may contribute to the lower risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the diet.
Regular nut consumption lowers total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) by 5 to 15%, which would tend to lower heart disease risk. Walnuts are particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.
Bix over at Fanatic Cook links to three scientific studies showing that walnuts:
- improved arterial function in people with type 2 diabetes
- improved arterial function in people with high cholesterol eating a Mediterranean diet
- decreased fasting insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes
- decreased LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes who were on a low-fat diet
The “dose” of walnuts in these studies was 1–2 ounces (28–56 g) daily.
For good reason, nuts have a prominent role in both the Advanced Mediterranean Diet and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.
I don’t know Bix, but he or she seems to base many of his/her nutrition opinions on scientific principles, which I appreciate.
Steve Parker, M.D.