Thursday, January 23, 2014

Battle of the Bulge: Go Nuts!

As an "apple," my ears always perk when Dr. Oz totes his "Flat Belly Plan"s (he always re-sells it a couple of times a year). But it seems to be remaining the same over time, and independent of his advocacy. 

Along with dairy-sourced calcium consumption, MUFAs are highly recommended. MUFA stands for monounsaturated fatty acids, found in oils, nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.  

"The key to fighting fat is eating fat—healthy fat." It may sound counter-intuitive, but the same way upping water intake rids the body of retained water, healthy fats not only decrease visceral fat, the deep, enmeshed fat around the organs, but also improves overall health. 

A small serving with every meal keeps one satisfied—I can attest to that. I harbored a childhood dislike of nuts which I have recently conquered; my pantry and fridge now boasts Costco-issue sacks of pine nuts, pecans, and walnuts. 

Jane Brody spreads the joyous benefits of nuts in "Snacking Your Way to Better Health." Thousands of people were studied over decades: 
The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed. (The nuts in question were pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts.)
Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die from 1980 to 2010; even among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.
I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t nuts fattening? Yes, an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories, nearly 80 percent from fat.
But in study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be. For example, in a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese.
The body metabolizes nuts differently than other foods; not all of the fat is actually absorbed into the body (I can't remember the source for this, but it has been corroborated from more than one publication).
Now, of course, salted nuts will kind of defeat the purpose by upping water weight, so only unsalted, and raw is best.

I have also found nuts to be an ideal snack for rigorous shopping days; easy to carry along, conveniently bite-sized, and munching only a little results in reliable energy. 

No comments: