Health ben­e­fits of nuts and seeds

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - CONTRIBUTORS -

NUTS and seeds are parts of plants that both prac­ti­tion­ers and pa­tients may have ig­nored to some ex­tent now. How­ever, they are very ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing dis­eases in­volv­ing or­gans, es­pe­cially the heart. They also boost the func­tions of th­ese or­gans and sys­tems in the body. A brief ac­count of some of them should stir up our in­ter­est in them.

Nuts

Al­monds are oval-shaped seeds of the al­mond tree. They con­tain cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, zinc potas­sium, iron, phos­pho­rus, cop­per and se­le­nium. It is said that al­monds con­tain as much cal­cium as milk. Also present in al­monds are vi­ta­min E and the B vi­ta­mins, pro­tein and fi­bre. They can lower choles­terol and they may play a preven­tive role in can­cer. All you need is a lit­tle hand­ful of al­monds.

Dried wal­nuts look like the two hemi­spheres of the brain ly­ing side by side. This is one of those plant seeds/nuts that play a pos­i­tive role in the health of the body part they look like. Wal­nuts par­tic­u­larly boost the health of the brain.

Other health ben­e­fits of wal­nuts in­clude re­duc­ing the risk of prostate and breast can­cer, re­duc­ing the blood level of choles­terol and lower the blood pres­sure. They also help in weight con­trol and in blood su­gar reg­u­la­tion in type 2 di­a­betes.

Wal­nuts con­tain el­lagic acid, a known can­cer-fight­ing an­tiox­i­dant that makes it a po­tent rem­edy against cer­tain can­cers. They are also good for the hair and skin.

Brazil nuts are a very im­por­tant source of se­le­nium. In fact, it is the nut with the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of se­le­nium. Other min­er­als in Brazil nuts are mag­ne­sium and cop­per. There is also vi­ta­min B3, (niacin), pro­tein, fi­bre and vi­ta­min E in Brazil nut. The health ben­e­fits of Brazil nuts are preven­tion of some can­cers such as breast can­cer, boost­ing of car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, preven­tion of liver cir­rho­sis and man­age­ment of di­a­betes. Brazil nuts also lower bad LDL choles­terol and play a part in the treat­ment of arthri­tis.

Pine Nuts also known as Cedar nuts con­tain a high per­cent­age of the amino acids re­quired in the body. An­tiox­i­dant vi­ta­mins in pine nuts are vi­ta­mins A and E. The vi­ta­min B group and vi­ta­min D are also present in this nut. Pine nuts help to boost the health of the heart, and pro­tect the ar­ter­ies against dam­age by free rad­i­cals. They also re­duce bad LDL choles­terol in the cir­cu­la­tion. With their vi­ta­min A con­tent they help to im­prove the vi­sion. Not only that, pine nuts are known to in­crease the haemoglobin level of the blood and by this im­prove the oxy­gen car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of the blood.

Cashews nuts are rich in the fatty acid known as oleic acid. Oleic acid is a mo­noun­sat­u­rated fatty acid also re­ferred to as omega 9 free fatty acid. Oleic acid is good for the heart. The min­er­als that are richly found in cashew nuts are mag­ne­sium, zinc, cop­per, iron and bi­otin. Un­like other nuts, cashew nuts may not be rec­om­mended for can­cer pa­tients be­cause of the high level of fun­gus it may con­tain. Seeds

Flax seed, the best source of omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids. Th­ese are the mono and polyun­sat­u­rated fatty acids. The best source of th­ese fatty acid oils is Udo’s oil where they are present in the right pro­por­tion that is in the hu­man body. Th­ese fatty acids are good for the heart and they can re­duce the risk of di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and stroke. They also con­tain fi­bre and with their an­tiox­i­dant com­po­nent, they can help to fight can­cer.

Chia Seeds are rich in cal- cium, pro­teins, omega-3 oils, anti-ox­i­dants and fi­bre. Health ben­e­fits of chia seeds in­clude preven­tion of arthri­tis and deal­ing with the pains thereof, en­hanc­ing the health of the diges­tive sys­tem, im­prov­ing the health of the brain and preven­tion of heart dis­ease, liver dis­ease and di­a­betes.

Sun­flower seeds like most nuts and seeds, are ef­fec­tive against heart dis­ease and can­cer. They con­tain cop­per, se­le­nium, folic acid, vi­ta­min E and phy­to­chem­i­cals. Con­sum­ing sun­flower seeds reg­u­larly, can check con­di­tions such as mi­graine headache, re­duce sever­ity of asthma and re­duce blood pres­sure. Pump­kin Seeds are great im­mune sys­tem boost­ers. They are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and carotenoid an­tiox­i­dants.

Sesame Seeds are loaded with mag­ne­sium, cal­cium, zinc, phos­pho­rus, iron and fi­bre. They also con­tain vi­ta­min B1. Sesame seeds can pre­vent dis­eases such as os­teo­poro­sis, mi­graine headache, asthma, arthri­tis and re­duce the neg­a­tive ef­fect of menopause. They have also been found to be ef­fec­tive in low­er­ing the blood pres­sure and pro­tect the liver against dam­age.

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