According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces) of most nuts daily, as part of an overall healthy diet, may reduce your risk of heart disease. All nuts provide various health benefits, however some provide more of the following heart healthy substances than others:
Monounsaturated fats: Can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: These polyunsaturated fats help reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides and do much more.
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant may help stop the development of plaque in your arteries.
Plant Sterols: These natural substances have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol.
L-arginine: This amino acid converts to nitric oxide in the body, helping blood vessels relax.
Fiber: Certain fibers help lower cholesterol levels. Fiber, in combination with the protein and fat content of nuts, also improves satiety. This can help keep your appetite in check and promote a healthy weight, which is an important factor for reducing heart disease risk.
Although nuts provide the perfect nutrition boost, in just one little package, it is important to note that they are very high in fat. A 1-ounce serving may provide 160 to 200 calories! So remember moderation is key.