WHY THIS MIX:
Like all nuts, walnuts are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. However, walnuts are unique in that they contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats (other nuts typically contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats). There are several types of polyunsaturated fats; the form found primarily in plant foods is known as alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. ALA has been shown to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions (Erlich, 2014). It may also stimulate your body to lose weight faster.
Walnuts contain 2.5 grams of ALA per serving, making them a rich source of this beneficial fatty acid. In a recent study of 245 women, a walnut-rich diet was associated with greater weight loss, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol (Le et al., 2016). This suggests that eating a handful of walnuts every day could help to stimulate fat loss and promote a healthy body weight.
Almonds are considered one of nature’s “superfoods” for their rich content of protein, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats. This makes them an excellent addition to your weight loss diet.
In fact, in a study of 65 overweight or obese adults, eating a diet high in almonds was associated with greater weight loss, decreased waist circumference, lower body fat, and reduced systolic blood pressure (Wein et al., 2003). These benefits are thought to be due to almonds’ high content of monounsaturated fats. Out of the 11 grams of fat in a serving of almonds, 7 grams are from these beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids (WH Foods, 2015).
Many of the health benefits of macadamia nuts are related to heart health. This may be due to their high content of monounsaturated fat.
A number of studies have shown that diets rich in macadamia nuts can lower both total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol in those with high cholesterol levels.
A macadamia-rich diet even produced effects similar to a heart-healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association.
In addition, macadamia nuts may reduce other risk factors for heart disease, including oxidative stress and inflammation.
It turns out, when it comes to your weight, pecans are one of the best foods you can eat. These tasty nuts contain high amounts of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly called PUFAs. The research shows people who get a lot of these PUFAs tend to have lower body weight. A review of 31 studies found people who ate nuts regularly had slimmer waists and had an easier time keeping weight off.
In even a snack size serving of pecans, you get a big dose of important minerals like calcium and potassium and essential vitamins like C, A, and the B-complex that supports energy. But it’s the vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium in pecans that help with weight loss.
Together, vitamin E and vitamin K build red blood cells that increase oxygen availability to your cells and increases metabolism. Vitamin E also helps build muscle, and by replacing muscle more efficiently, your muscles work better and you increase your lean muscle mass. A study involving 246 participants found those with higher vitamin E levels had less abdominal obesity.
Zinc improves the way you use and metabolize sugar. This prevents fat buildup and keeps the pounds off. Plus, zinc supports your immune system and wound healing.
And magnesium contributes to more than 300 different metabolic functions throughout your body. It plays a role in how quickly your body converts glucose into energy. In this way, it creates more energy and keeps your blood sugar low. Studies have found people who increase their magnesium lose weight faster and have a more active metabolism that helps maintain a healthy weight.
A number of studies have examined whether diets high in cashews can improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
One study found that a diet containing 20% of calories from cashews improved blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome.
Another study noticed that cashews increased the antioxidant potential of the diet.
Interestingly, a few studies have shown that diets high in cashews may increase blood sugar in people with metabolic syndrome.
Another larger study observed that a diet rich in cashews reduced blood pressure and increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. However, it had no significant effects on body weight or blood sugar levels.