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Eat Nuts for a Healthy Heart

Submitted by Sharon Hopkins on December 23, 2010

Nuts are hard shell covered seeds. They are used in all kinds of cuisines. They are used as such or in the form of flakes. They find an important role in biscuits, cookies, cakes and sweets. They are nutrient dense and provide many essential nutrients and vitamins like vitamin E and A.

They are a good source of carbohydrates and fats. Nuts also supply calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous iron and dietary fiber.

Almonds are a storehouse of nutrients.

They supply a good amount of protein, fiber, manganese, zinc, magnesium and so on. An ounce of almonds provide 6 grams of protein. They are a rich source of arginine and a poor source of lysine.

An ounce of almonds supply half the RDA of vitamin E. They are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Maximum LDL cholesterol reduction is seen with almonds, resulting in reduced risk of atherosclerosis.

Vitamin E exhibits an antioxidant activity, helping in decreased probability of heart diseases. It is also a powerhouse of potassium and magnesium.

Potassium helps in electrolyte balance and regulation of blood pressure. It is beneficial in muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses. It is heart-friendly and helps in cardiac health, thereby preventing plaque formation in atherosclerosis. Magnesium blocks the calcium channels and relaxes the veins and arteries. They enhance the blood flow, resulting in improved circulation of oxygen and nutrients. Deficiency results in heart attack and tissue damage, due to free radical injury.

Walnuts, previously referred to as gallic nut, belong to the Juglandacea family. They lower cholesterol by reducing the oxidative stress. They aid in regulating the flexibility of arteries in hypercholesterolemic patients. Elasticity of blood vessels is enhanced and inflammation is decreased. The cardio protective effect is attributed to the presence of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. One-fourth of a cup provides around 91% of the daily value. Omega 3 fatty acids help in preventing tachycardia, decreasing inner coagulation or thrombus formation and improves the HDL to LDL ratio.

Walnuts are beneficial in enhancing the cognitive performance and reducing arthritis, asthma, psoriasis and eczema. They contain ellagic acid, a chemical compound , helpful in boosting the immunity  and has an anti carcinogenic activity. They also contain arginine, amino acid essential for nitric oxide production. This in turn, improves the flexibility of arteries. l-arginine, seen in walnuts helps in reducing risk of hypertension. It is converted to nitric oxide, which in turn smoothens the vessels. Ellagic acid and gallic acid exhibit antioxidant activity, resulting in reduced LDL cholesterol.

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