What we choose to eat between meals has the potential to make or break us. Snacking isn’t something we do necessarily because we’re hungry either. It may be that we’re used to eating in a particular setting or a friend is eating something and we feel like we should join them. Humans have also been known to turn to snacks for emotional comfort.
Whatever your reason, if you’re someone who loves to snack, it might be time to swap the chips and chocolates for a healthier choice.
Since ancient times, nuts and seeds have been played a major role in fostering agriculture and adding to our nutritional diet. From offering sugared almonds as wedding gifts in ancient Rome (a practice still done today) to packs of peanuts accompanying astronauts on the Apollo missions to the moon, there’s no doubt that nuts and seeds are directly intertwined with the history of mankind.
But why should we eat them?
According to research, regularly snacking on nuts and seeds can lead to a longer, healthier life. In this article, we’ll be exploring how incorporating these handy foods into your daily routine can lead to a host of health benefits while simultaneously saturating your need to snack.
Carry on reading to find out more.
The Science Doesn’t Lie
The British Medical Journey recently concluded that the regular consumption of nuts and seeds is directly linked to prolonging your life by decreasing your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, among other ailments. This may come as no surprise considering that nuts and seeds are packed full of generous doses of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and more.
The study found that a significant ingredient involved in strengthening your blood vessels is a polyunsaturated fat that goes by the name alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This substance can be found in flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and soybeans, to name a few. By assessing over 120,000 participants in the span of 30 years, researchers surmised that higher consumption of ALA foods, often found in nuts and seeds, led to a reduced risk of mortality by 11%.
The richest sources of ALA include flaxseeds and walnuts. Many people incorporate flaxseed into their diet by adding it to their breakfast routine. Since most flaxseed options available are ground up, the easiest way to use it is sprinkling it onto yogurt or cereal or even mixing it into a healthy smoothie. While walnuts can also be used in this way, you can get away with eating them on their own.
Good News for Vegans
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, odds are that you consume more nuts and seeds than your meat-eating friends. That being said, did you know that in doing so you’re actually gaining a lot of nutrients you typically may associate with eating meat?
Many nuts and seeds are a great source of protein. Additionally, ALA is a form of omega-3 fatty acid, derived directly from plants. This is excellent news for those who follow a strictly plant-based diet and aren’t able to get their fix of protein or omega-3 from other sources, such as meat and fish.
These days, a lot of meat substitutes include the use of nuts and seeds to make up for the missing nutrients. This includes soybean burgers, chia seed fillets, and more. So, whether you’re ingesting these nuts and seeds as a meat alternative or just snacking on them individually, you’re guaranteed to reap the health benefits associated with their consumption.
Planting the Seeds of a Healthy Diet
Whether you’re following a plant-based diet or are simply trying to be more health-conscious, incorporating seeds and nuts into your snack routine is a great place to start.
Scientists have proven that these snacks have been shown to correspond to a longer and healthier life. With these health benefits in mind, it’s perhaps more crucial than ever to start integrating nuts into the highly processed diets we often see in the western world in particular.
Do you enjoy snacking? Have you tried changing your habits to include a healthier option? Please let us know what you think in the comments below.