Traditional holiday menus boast all sorts of nut-filled yumminess: pecan pie, streusels, cobblers and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Nuts and seeds have been an important energy and nutrient source throughout history. Historians theorize that ancient societies centered on the harvesting of nuts as far back as 10,000 years ago. That can explain why it feels so natural to draw upon so many nutty recipes for the holidays.
Aside from boosting holiday spirits, eating nuts has many benefits. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds all contain a rich source of vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and plant proteins. Just one handful of nuts can pack a positive punch to affect your heart, brain and even your waistline.
Evidence supports that consuming nuts regularly can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Incorporating tree nuts into one’s diet can also reduce the negative affects of conditions that could lead to disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and stress.
So, before you step into the whirlwind of the holidays with family and friends, pop some nuts into your salad, yogurt or straight into your mouth. Savor the hearty taste and the holiday celebrations.