Lets hear it for nuts!

This is another natural food that can get a bad press. They are shunned because people – particularly those on a diet – believe that they are bad for you as they are high in natural fats and oils, but this is far from being the case. Raw, not processed or salted, nuts can help fight depression, heart disease and bad cholesterol. That last one may be a bit of a shock, but although it is true that nuts in general contain as much as 80 per cent fat, but there are good fats and bad ones. The type of fat found in nuts is unsaturated fat – specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and both of these unsaturated fats are known for their ability to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also called “bad” cholesterol, when consumed in moderation.

A few months ago in the USA, a survey examined and reported on the diets of more than 31,000 Seventh Day Adventists – chosen for the similarity of their lifestyle choices – and it was found tha t those who ate nuts more than four times per week experienced 51% fewer heart attacks compared to those who ate nuts less than once per week.

If you want to stick to the most healthy nuts around, these are the top 5 to go for:

1 Pistachios can produce a 10 point drop in your triglycerides and a 16 point decline in your LDL (bad) cholesterol, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

2 Walnuts Contains omega 3s which may help ward off depression and heart attack, according to Harvard research. Maybe you should stuff those sardines with lemon and walnuts for extra benefit!

3 Brazil nuts contain selenium, a mineral linked to prostate cancer protection, according to scientists at the University of Arizona.

4 Pecans have the most antioxidants of any nut. Could help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

5 Hazelnuts a handful daily boosts HDL (good) cholesterol levels by 12 percent, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.