2. A Good Source of Antioxidants
Our body is under attack from nasty, unstable molecules of oxygen called free radicals, on a daily basis. They’re created when we eat processed food that’s high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, drink excess amounts of alcohol, smoke, breathe in environmental pollutants or experience high levels of stress.
But free radicals are also produced as a by-product of normal biological processes such as breathing and digestion, so they’re impossible to avoid. If they accumulate in the body, they can cause damage to our cells, including our immune cells. This can lead to oxidative stress which can increase our chance of developing diseases such as metabolic syndrome.
Antioxidants are compounds that selflessly travel around our body, donating electrons to free radical oxygen molecules, to stabilise them and prevent them causing damage. Therefore, eating a diet high in antioxidants will help to protect against free radical damage and support a healthy, well-functioning immune system.
Nuts are antioxidant heroes due to their rich supply of polyphenols. Studies show that walnuts and almonds in particular, have the capacity to “increase polyphenol levels and significantly reduced oxidative damage”. Another study found that eating pecans “reduced levels of oxidized “bad” LDL cholesterol — a major risk factor for heart disease”.