Health benefits of Nuts in Trail Mix
Are they a fruit? Legume? Seed?
Well, they are all three, depending on who you ask.
Trail mix isn’t trail mix without nuts. Whether it’s almonds, cashews, walnuts, or peanuts. Take your pick, all of them have health benefits, and when mixed together they are a powerful, high energy, and tasty snack.
Walnuts, almonds, and nuts, in general, have a wide variety of healthy and energy-related reasons to add them to your next batch. There’s a nut for everyone…
- Pine nuts
- Peanuts (Legume)
Nuts are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These days we’re being told on a regular basis the importance of having Omega-3 in our diets. Omega 3 fatty acids offer a wide range of health benefits for both your body and your brain.
Omega 3 fats are an essential fat, and our bodies can’t make them from scratch, so the only way our bodies get them is the through the food we consume. Omega 3’s are a key family of Polyunsaturated fats and they come in three different forms DHA, EPA, and LDL (source).
The first two, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are found in marine sources like salmon, lake trout, and albacore tuna. These make up the fish oil supplement market that has been aggressively marketed over the last few years.
The third kind ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is what we’re dealing with, it’s found in nuts, seeds, some animal fats, leafy vegetables and common vegetable oils. ALA is the true essential Omega 3 fat, it is broken down into DHA and EPA, granted, at an extremely slow conversion rate (source).
Omega 3 Prevents Heart Disease
According to the BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, a proven way to prevent and treat heart disease is to eat a diet that is high in polyunsaturated fats, specifically omega 3 fatty acids.
The Mediterranean diet is a perfect example of a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Mainly consisting of green vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil.
Omega 3 is High in Good Cholesterol or HDL
Think of your bloodstream as the highway and the good cholesterol (HDL) as the cars on the highway and the bad cholesterol (LDL) as the passengers in the car. Good cholesterol is the vehicle for fats and bad cholesterol to be delivered through your bloodstream to your liver for recycling.
It used to be believed that is was the number of passengers in the car or that (LDL) was the major factor in heart disease. However, recent studies have shown that it’s the number of cars on the road (HDL) that make the biggest impact.
Peanuts (Legume), Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Almonds are all high in HDL (source). Nuts are a major staple in any trail mix that you purchase or make at home. Considering the beneficial health properties of nuts you may want to throw a few extra handfuls into the mix.
Nuts contain Anti-Oxidants
According to WebMd, anti-oxidants have a part in the suppression and prevention of Alzheimer’s, some cancers, and certain arthritis-related issues.
They also protect the body against free radicals, which are harmful molecules that some experts believe are a contributing factor to a variety of different negative health conditions.
Anti-oxidants also contain vitamins C and E, selenium, and flavonoids. the best way to obtain anti-oxidants is through natural consumption rather than buying an over the counter supplement.