Dr. Harp said recent studies revealed that daily nut eaters were 20 percent less likely to have died during the course of the study than those who avoided nuts. Researchers say eating nuts lowers LDL (bad cholesterol), raises HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers blood pressure, as well as blood pressure responses to stress. Nuts can also boost a process called reverse cholesterol transport, by which HDL particles in the blood sweep away fatty plaque from clogged arteries.
The health benefits hold true for a variety of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pistachios, but make sure you choose the unsalted variety. Researchers also concluded that nut eaters were less likely to gain weight as long as they're substituted for other foods, as opposed to adding them to your diet.
Nuts can be substituted for chips or candy. They can also be chopped up and added to cereal or yogurt, tossed into stir-fry and salads, or added to fish or chicken. Nut butter can also replace butter or cream cheese as a spread.
Dr. Harp said a variety of nuts are available and reasonably priced in the bulk section of your local supermarket.
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