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There is a good reason that people put nuts in trail mix to take with them when they are hiking. Nuts provide sustained energy because, thanks to their mix of fat and protein, they are a slow burning food. For the same reason, they are friendly to your blood sugar. In fact Harvard researchers have discovered that women who regularly ate nuts were 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those that didn’t eat them as often.

Yes, nuts are high in fabt but it is mostly good fat. The good fat may reduce insul resistance, and in the case of most nuts, 85 percent of their fat is this kind of good fat.

Good fats also improve heart healthy, even boosting levels of good HDL cholesterol. In studies, people who ate as few as 5 ounces of nuts a week as part of an overall heart healthy diet lowered their risk of developing heart disease by 35 percent compared to those who ate nuts less than once a week..

If you eat nuts frequently, you may also be reducing chronic inflammation in your body, which can help reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. And the protein in most nuts is unusually rich in the amino acid arginine, which may help relax blood vessels, and make a heart attack less likely.

Some nuts, including peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, also contain plant sterols, which have been shown to lower chloesterol, and a natural compound called resveratrol, the same one found in red wine and shown to lower heart disease risk. Like fish, walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fats, another shot in the arm against heart disease.

Peanuts aren’t technically nuts at all, but legumes. Unlike nuts that grow on trees, they grow under the ground, but for healthy, they rank right up there with all the above ground nuts.

Health Bonus of Nuts:

Nuts provide a hard to find nutrient, Vitamin E, an important antioxidant that may help fight prostate and lung cancers. Brazil nuts are selenium superstars, providing a whopping 200 times more of the mineral that any other nut. Selenium has been linked to prevention of both cancer and heart disease. Almonds provide bone building calcium. Hazelnuts and cashews boast the most copper, a much needed nutrient for people with diabetes.