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8 Healthy Nuts And Seeds You Should Eat Every Day

8 Healthy Nuts And Seeds You Should Eat Every Day

Nuts and seeds are important additions to our daily food consumption. These tiny gifts from Mother Nature are super heart-friendly thanks to a group of fatty acids called monounsaturated fats that protect against cardiovascular diseases. There’s a long list of benefits you can acquire from eating nuts and seeds. To name a few:

  • They are a great source of antioxidants
  • They are good for the skin’s elasticity and tissue repair
  • They are a natural source of iron, phosphorus, and magnesium
  • They are rich in fiber for good digestion
  • They can help with weight loss
  • They are gifts from Mother Nature — be thankful!

Aside from eating them as a snack, the following nuts and seeds can also be a great addition to your favorite dish, be it sweet or savory. However, as common food allergens, these nuts and seeds should only be eaten if you are sure you’re not allergic to them.

The recommended serving listed is the minimum amount you can consume daily to achieve the health benefits of these nuts and seeds. You can also try the featured recipes as an alternative take on these wonder foods.

1. Almonds

The flavorful and healthy almond is fortunately available throughout the year, but mid-summer when you can harvest the freshest batch. It blends perfectly with both sweet and savory dishes. From salads to pastries, the almond is one versatile ingredient.

Most of us think that the almond is a nut, which is technically incorrect! It’s actually the seed of an almond tree’s fruit. You only need to consume a handful of almonds to experience its health benefits. Its also a high-fat food that is good for you. Amazing, right? Almonds also have a cholesterol-lowering benefit to your body that reduces the risk of heart illness. Studies speculate that this is because of the vitamin E (an antioxidant) and monounsaturated fats found in almonds.

Recommended daily serving: 28 grams or a handful of almonds.

Here are some sweet and savoury recipes for Almonds:

Healthy Brownie Bites

by Primally Inspired
Full recipe here.

almonds dessert 01

    Six-Ingredient Paleo Fudge

    by Freckled Italian
    Full recipe here.

    Six-Ingredient+Paleo+Fudge

      Massaged Kale Salad with Almonds and Cranberries

      by Rubies & Radishes
      Full recipe here.

      IMG_2854

        2. Chia Seeds

        Chia seeds are truly one of the most underrated foods on the planet. These tiny, mottled seeds are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium, which benefits both your body and brain. It is one of today’s “Superfoods” and has grown beyond its dietary staple label. You are not a legit health conscious person if chia seeds are not part of your everyday life. They are also a gluten-free, whole grain food that can be grown organically.

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        Packed with antioxidants that are good for the heart and skin, chia seeds will have you glowing inside and out. One of the amazing things about chia seeds is that all the carbs in them are fiber! They are hydrophilic and can expand up to 12 times their size. This gives you a feeling of fullness and can be very helpful if you want to lose weight.

        Recommended daily serving: 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.

        Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Chia Seeds:

        Mocha Chia Pudding

        by The Nourished Caveman
        Full recipe here

        chia seeds dessert 01

          Easy Raw Apple Chia Breakfast Porridge

          by Janice Levitt
          Full recipe here.

          porridge1

            3. Cashews

            Like almonds, cashews are seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew tree’s fruit. It adds a delicate nutty flavor to your dishes, and also complements salads and stir-fried dishes. It’s a great source of healthy fats (monounsaturated fats) that are heart-friendly, similar to the fats you get from olive oil. You should consider adding cashews to your diet if you want to keep your heart healthy. Since the healthy fats present in cashews decrease triglyceride levels, it’s a perfect idea to add these to the diets of diabetics. Before consuming the seeds, allow them to expand first by mixing them with enough liquid.

            Recommended daily serving: Small handful of raw cashews.

            Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Cashews:

            Cashew-Leek Veggie Burgers

            by Lukas Volger
            Full recipe here.

            cashew-leek_cr-bklyn-table

              Cashew Milk

              by Cookie + Kate
              Full recipe here.

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              cashews dessert 01

                4. Sesame Seeds

                It was during the Middle Ages that these tiny seeds were literally worth their weight in gold. No wonder – sesame seeds are loaded with astounding health benefits. Health is wealth. They are a great source of protein – high quality protein to be specific – that makes up 20 percent of the seed. If you have a heart problem, diabetes, anemia, or arthritis, adding sesame seeds to your daily food consumption might just be the solution. Not convinced? These small seeds are rich in zinc that helps produce collagen in the body. Collagen gives the skin more elasticity and it helps repair damaged body tissues. Thus, it makes your skin healthier and younger looking.

                Recommended daily serving: 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

                Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Sesame Seeds:

                Sesame Truffles

                by Elana’s Pantry
                Full recipe here.

                sesame_truffles

                  Cold Sesame (Cucumber) Noodles

                  by The Clothes Make The Girl
                  Full recipe here.

                  sesamenoodles

                    5. Flaxseeds

                    Flaxseeds were once called the new wonder food. Big gifts come in small packages indeed. Flaxseeds are packed with overwhelming health benefits for such a tiny seed. Some studies show that flaxseeds may help fight heart illnesses, diabetes, and breast cancer. It can be found in all kinds of consumer products like crackers, frozen waffles, and oatmeal. Flaxseeds are primarily rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, and good-old fiber. It is still considered a powerful seed even 13 centuries after it was cultivated.

                    Recommended daily serving: 2 to 4 grounded flaxseeds.

                    Here are some sweet and savory recipes for flaxseeds:

                    Mini Paleo Blueberry Bread

                    by South Beach Primal
                    Full recipe here.

                    Mini-Paleo-Blueberry-Bread

                      Pecan Flax Paleo Pancakes

                      by Paleo Porn
                      Full recipe here.

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                      Pecan-Flax-Paleo-Pancakes4-960x600

                        Grain Free Chicken Dippers with Buffalo Ranch Dipping Sauce

                        by Primally Inspired
                        Full recipe here.

                        flax seeds savoury 01

                          6. Pine Nuts

                          As early as 300 BC, pine nuts were spreading their healthy benefits and filling up Roman soldiers. Now, pine nuts have expanded their goodness to us health-conscious people of the modern world. Like cashews and almonds, pine nuts are technically pine seeds that you find between the scales of pine cones. These flavorful nuts have actually become a delicacy in many countries.

                          So, what health benefits do pine nuts really have to offer? For starters, they significantly help weight loss because of their appetite-suppressing effects. Scientifically speaking, the fatty acids found in pine nuts release large amounts of a known appetite-suppressing hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). Pine nuts also contain nutrients that boost our body’s energy levels.They are also good for your heart, skin, and vision.

                          Recommended daily serving: 2 to 3 tablespoons of pine nuts.

                          Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Pine Nuts:

                          Paleo Chicken & Pine Nut Meatloaf

                          by Paleo Foodies
                          Full recipe here.

                          chicken-meatloaf-1050x700

                            Spinach Cake

                            by Elana’s Pantry
                            Full recipe here.

                            spinach_cake

                              7. Walnuts

                              This one is different. It’s neither a seed nor a nut, but a drupe. It’s a simple gift from Mother Nature. It contains a long list of nutrients like protein, fiber, plant sterols, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Perhaps the best health benefit of walnuts is its cancer-fighting properties that significantly reduce the risks of prostate and breast cancer. Like its cousins, cashews and almonds, walnuts are heart-friendly and powerful antioxidants. For the weight conscious, these nuts can increase satiety levels in just three days.

                              Recommended daily serving: 7 shelled walnuts.

                              Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Walnuts:

                              Raw Chocolate Covered Walnuts with Berries

                              by The Paleo Diet
                              Full recipe here.

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                              chocolate-covered-walnuts

                                Paleo Choc Blueberry Cake

                                by The Merrymaker Sisters
                                Full recipe here.

                                the-merrymaker-sisters_paleo-choc-blueberry-cake-640x357

                                  Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

                                  by Cookie + Kate
                                  Full recipe here.

                                  strawberry-spinach-walnut-salad-550x368

                                    8. Macadamia

                                    Surprised that macadamia nuts made it to this list? Yes, they are loaded with fat and calories, but hear me out first! Studies show that 82.6 percent of the fat found in macadamia nuts are monounsaturated. If you’ve been reading up to this point, you know that monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that are good for the heart. Macadamia nuts also contain fiber that is good for digestion.

                                    Recommended daily serving: 28 grams or one handful of macadamia nuts.

                                    Here are some sweet and savory recipes for Macadamia Nuts:

                                    Cherry (Tomato) Bombs

                                    by Paleo Foodies
                                    Full recipe here.

                                    CherryTomatoBombs41-e1415762017362

                                      Candied Macadamia Nuts

                                      by Elana’s Pantry
                                      Full Recipe here.

                                      candied-macadamia-nuts-DSC_27501

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                                        Last Updated on June 15, 2018

                                        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                        Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                                        Video Summary

                                        Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                                        Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                                        Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                                        Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                                        This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                                        Sitting Is the New Smoking

                                        Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                                        The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                                        Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                                          Sit Properly

                                          If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                                          Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                                            Credit: StayWow

                                            Stand Up More

                                            Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                                            Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                                            Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                                            Or get a standing desk.

                                            One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                                            Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                                            Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                                            But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                                            The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                                            Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                                            Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                                            This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                                            Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                                            Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                                            There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                                            Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                                            I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                                            Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                                            If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                                            Where to Start

                                            The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                                            Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                                            If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                                            Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                                            Keep a straight back.

                                            Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                                            Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                                            I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                                            If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                                            Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                                            Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

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