Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘nuts and cancer’

THE POWER OF THE FEW

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 21, 2010

I’m back and nutty as ever! No, I haven’t abandoned my post at the NutGourmet—just took a little holiday break to spend time with family and friends and cook up a flurry of great munchies I’ll share in future blog posts.

Now, I’ve returned with a fresh vigor and a feverish desire to share the nutty pleasures. Sometimes I bemoan the fact that nuts are not exactly dirt-cheap. Then, on the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing because many of us would probably be tempted to gorge on massive amounts of them. That would be a bad thing. How bad?

What constitutes a healthy level of nut consumption? The key is to remember there is awesome power in “just a little.” That “just a little” means there are potent benefits in consuming as few as one to three ounces of nuts a day. Translate that to the equivalent of about one or two generous handfuls.

Some might be thinking that limiting oneself to just one or two ounces of nuts a day may actually feel like utter deprivation. In truth, that small quantity is actually achieving a perfectly healthy ideal. It never ceases to amaze me that such a small quantity packs a big wallop in knocking down high cholesterol and blood pressure and reducing the risk of coronary artery disease.

At the December 2009 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, attendees learned from researchers at Texas Woman’s University – Houston Center that a mere two ounces of pistachios a day boosted levels of gamma- tocopherol, a natural form of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. The authors acknowledge higher levels of gamma-tocopherol may offer protection against certain forms of cancer, namely lung and prostate cancer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. In 2005, the guidelines suggested incorporating 1.5 ounces of nuts such as hazelnuts into the diet several times per week. They suggest hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, folate, B vitamins and minerals that may play a role in lowering blood pressure. Hazelnuts are high in beneficial monounsaturated fats and only contain 4 percent saturated fats.

Just two handfuls of walnuts a day was the catchphrase of a study looking to inhibit the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice. W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia, gives the omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols in walnuts a thumbs up for their ability to block the progression of tumors and suggests the compounds contained in walnuts could slow down the growth of breast cancer in humans.

A study cited in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrated that just eight walnuts eaten at the end of a meal may be better than olive oil in helping to prevent damage to the delicate lining of the arteries. Walnuts were compared with olive oil in a study conducted at Barcelona’s Hospital Clinico and were found to better retain the elasticity and flexibility of the arteries when necessary to expand and increase blood flow. While many people turning to the Mediterranean diet credit the olive oil for the heart healthy focus, they miss the true hero—the little handful of walnuts.

Must one conclude that nuts are truly a miracle food? No, they certainly are not. Nuts are merely one of many of the highly nutritious plant-based foods that help us to stay healthy and assist us in returning to a state of health when we’ve fallen into the pit of chronic disease.

There really are no miracle foods, though many food purveyors work hard to convince people their product is theeee one to repair all the health ills and provide a cure-all. The power of the few remains the steadfast mantra referring to all whole, plant-based foods consumed in smaller portions than Americans have become accustomed to consuming. Feasting is best saved for special occasions.

For the daily diet, the power of a few nuts along with comfortable and reasonable portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and seeds brings impressive results in a surprisingly short time.

The following measurements comprise a one-ounce serving of nuts:

20 to 24 ALMONDS

6 to 8 BRAZIL NUTS

16 to 18 CASHEWS

18 to 20 FILBERTS (HAZELNUTS)

10 to 12 MEDIUM MACADAMIAS

28 SHELLED PEANUTS

18 to 20 PECAN HALVES

150 to 157 PINE NUTS (PIGNOLI)

45 to 47 PISTACHIOS

14 WALNUT HALVES

1 tablespoon PUMPKIN SEEDS

1 medium-size handful SESAME SEEDS

3 tablespoons SHELLED SUNFLOWER SEEDS

References:
Almond Board of California–http://www.almondsarein.com

American Association for Cancer Research “Walnut consumption decreases mammary gland tumor incidence, multiplicity and growth in the C(3) Tag transgenic mouse” AACR 2009; Abstract LB-247.

California Pistachio Association–http://www.pistachios.org

The Hazelnut Council–http://www.hazelnutcouncil.org

Hernandez, M.S. American Association for Cancer Research (2009. December 9). Pistachios may reduce lung cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 20, 2010 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091208191956.htm

International Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation http://www.nuthealth.org

National Pecan Shellers Association–http://www.ilovepecans.org

Peanut Advisory Board–http://www.peanutbutterlovers.com

The Peanut Institute–http://www.peanut-institute.org

Ros, Emilio. “Eating walnuts at the end of a meal may help cut the damage that fatty food can do to the arteries” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2006/10/10 09:38:33 GMT

The Walnut Marketing Board–http://www.walnut.org

Posted in almonds, Antioxidants in Nuts, hazelnuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Organizations, nut research, Nut Studies, Nuts and Health, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Magic of Brazil Nuts

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 26, 2009

I’ve been experimenting with plant-based nut recipes for several years now and have used a variety of nuts to create really unique salad dressings. But I had never made a dressing with Brazil nuts—until now. This dressing surprises people. They just don’t expect such awesome flavor in just a couple of tablespoons. And would you believe, there’s not a drop of vegetable oil in this dressing!

Thick and ultra creamy, this dressing is perfect for those who crave salad toppings that feel naughty to the core. But would you believe this thick and indulgent dressing is one heart-healthy salad enhancer. Keep in mind though, that with nut-based foods, a little bit goes a long way, yet still offers plenty of satisfying flavors.

You might be wondering why I’ve ditched the oil that’s usually found in classic salad dressings. Truth is that vegetable oil is just added fat calories and who needs that? Every tablespoon of vegetable oil, no matter what kind—even the much-revered olive oil, is 100% fat that plants 120 calories on your body. You’ll notice that the source of fat in this dressing does not come from minimally nutritious vegetable oils found in most salad dressings.

Instead, healthful mono- and polyunsaturated fats from Brazil nuts give this dressing its richness and natural thickening. Brazil nuts have other charming characteristics, too. They’re revered for their outstanding source of selenium, a mineral known for its powerful antioxidant capabilities.
brazil
Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted a study published in the July 17, 2003 issue of the journal Cancer Research suggesting that the high levels of selenium in Brazil nuts may play a role in preventing breast and other cancers. Selenium aids in inhibiting the production of free radicals that can damage our DNA and deserves special recognition because compromised DNA paves the way for cancer cells to grow.

Brazil nuts are so well endowed with selenium that all it takes is one nut a day to provide the RDA for that mineral. Each nut contains 120 mcg of selenium, while adults require only 55 mcg a day. Pregnant women require slightly more, 60 mcg, of the mineral while lactating mothers need 70 mcg per day. A study published in the February 2008 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating two Brazil nuts a day could avoid the need to take any selenium supplements.

This important antioxidant mineral also helps to prevent inflammatory, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases. Turn to Brazil nuts for a good source of protein, fiber, and impressive levels of potassium and magnesium. And if that weren’t enough, the nuts contain plenty of iron, zinc, and even the important trace mineral copper that plays an important role in collagen formation needed for bone formation.

Enjoy this Brazil nut treasure on any bowl of greens, and you might be craving salads more often.


ARTICHOKE BRAZIL NUT DRESSING

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup whole Brazil nuts

1 (13.75 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Grind the Brazil nuts into nut butter in a small electric grinder/chopper or coffee grinder and transfer to a blender.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until creamy and smooth.
3. Transfer the dressing to a serving bowl and serve with a ladle or use a funnel to pour it into a narrow-neck bottle for easy pouring. Covered and refrigerated, the Artichoke Brazil Nut Dressing will keep for 1 week.

Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Brazil nuts, Minerals in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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