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Nutty Professor: Learn the Health Benefits of Nuts and Seeds

Nutrient dense. Portable. Filling. Delicious. Nuts and seeds are practically nature’s perfect food, providing a wide array of healthy benefits. Read on to learn why you should add more nuts and seeds to your diet and determine which ones in particular may be the best bets for your individual needs.

“Good” fats. People often mistake the fat content in nuts as a bad thing, but nuts are actually high in unsaturated fats, which are important for cardiovascular health, help to reduce inflammation and pain, and are cholesterol-free.

Omega-3s. Two seeds in particular—flaxseed and linseed—are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are most commonly associated with fish. Omega-3s have been widely praised for their ability to positively affect mood, regulate blood pressure, and prevent blood clots.

Protein. All nuts and seeds are filled with satisfying protein, which helps to stave off hunger and are key in growth and optimal overall functioning.

Fiber. Nuts are a fantastic source of fiber, which can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes, and also keeps the digestive system running smoothly. Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and walnuts have the highest amounts of fiber per serving.

Vitamins. Hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are both especially rich in vitamin E, an essential nutrient for heart health and for the maintenance of a youthful, glowing complexion.

Minerals. Almonds, for example, are one of the richest nutritional sources of calcium—making them an excellent choice for young people who are building strong bones, older people at risk for developing osteoporosis, and those who are lactose-intolerant. Almonds are also rich in iron.

Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium, a mineral that helps to strengthen the immune system and possibly reduce the risk of cancer.

Cashews are rich in iron and potassium, an electrolyte that maintains optimal functioning of the immune and nervous systems. Potassium is also vital to muscle function and repair, which makes snacking on cashews or spreading cashew butter (instead of peanut butter) on a slice of whole-wheat bread a good idea before or after a workout.

Chestnuts contain a high amount of Vitamin A, which is crucial for eye health and a healthy immune system.

Pumpkin seeds are filled with zinc—which strengthens the immune system and plays a major role in cell growth.

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